Chinese girl, 3, has eye tumour size of tennis ball removed after doctors take pity on poor family



12:11 GMT, 19 July 2012

A three-year-old girl from China has undergone surgery to remove an enormous tumour dangling from her left eye.

Jia Wanyan began to suffer problems with her eye in April and checkups revealed that she was suffering from retinoblastoma (Rb), which is a tumour that develops in the cells of the retina.

Before surgery: Jia's parents were powerless to help her because they are so poor

Jia after the operation to remove her eye tumour

Before surgery: Jia's mother (left) was powerless to help her daughter due to lack of money. Jia had the tumour removed after doctors agreed to treat her for free

The three-hour operation was hailed as a success by surgeons

The three-hour operation was hailed as a success by surgeons

The first sign of the condition is often a white pupil that does not reflect light which can often be picked up in photographs. After that the eye can become red and irritated.

In the developed world, Rb has one of the best cure rates of all childhood cancers (95-98 per cent), with more than nine out of every ten sufferers surviving into adulthood.

However, Jia's parents, who are labourers, were unable to afford for her to have any treatment. They could only watch as the tumour continued to develop until it grew to larger than a tennis ball.

After hearing about Jia's plight, a hospital then stepped forward and offered to treat the youngster for free.

had to remove the eye in a three-hour operation because the tumour had
grown so large They then fitted the youngster with an artificial eye.

Chief surgeon Lei Delin said the procedure was a complete success.

will now undergo chemotherapy to kill off any remaining cancer cells.
Follow-ups will be required to check that the disease hasn't returned.

Prosthetic eyes

Jia had a prosthetic eye, similar to these, fitted

Jia Wanyan began to suffer problems with her eye in April

Jia Wanyan began to suffer problems with her left eye in April

Although a Communist country, China does not have a cradle-to-grave free-at-the-point of use healthcare system. Instead around half of the population buy basic medical insurance which covers for half the costs of their healthcare. The remainder is paid either by patients or their health insurer.

However, this leaves the poorest in China struggling to meet medical bills for serious condition like Jia's.