Mother whose son lost his sight to eye cancer delighted after campaign leads to new parents being taught about disease
Between 40 and 50 children are diagnosed with eye cancer each year


15:51 GMT, 18 June 2012



16:22 GMT, 18 June 2012

A mother, whose son lost his sight to eye cancer, has welcomed an initiative to teach all new parents about the disease.

Katy Bishop's son Owen, 2, displayed all the classic symptoms of the disease including a squint and the appearance of a whitish light on the eyes. However, doctors failed to spot the signs and simply gave him glasses.

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Katy Bishop, with her son Owen, who lost his sight to eye cancer in both eyes. Ms Bishop has since campaigned for greater awareness of the condition

Now his mother Katy Bishop, 32, said she was delighted new parents would be taught to spot the classic symptoms of eye cancer, after campaigning for greater awareness.

Information about the disease will be
published in the personal child health record, also known as the red
book, given to every parent upon the birth of their child.

Mrs Bishop, from Petersfield in Hampshire, said: 'If we’d have known that a glow in his eyes in a photograph could be something to be concerned about we would definitely have pushed for Owen to have been seen sooner.

'I am so relieved that future parents will have this information to hand. It will make a real difference to children diagnosed with retinoblastoma in the future.'

Most children with the rare eye cancer lose an eye, and occasionally both, which could be prevented with earlier diagnosis.

Clear symptom: A whitish light on the eye that is apparent in photos is a possible warning sign of eye cancer

Clear symptom: A whitish light on the eye that shows up in photos, like this one of Owen, is a warning sign of eye cancer

Ms Bishop said her son was diagnosed with cancerous tumours in both of his eyes in 2009.

She said: 'I was devastated to find out he had cancer, and probably had since birth, and I was happily putting glasses on him, worry-free while the cancer robbed him of his vision.

'If there had been one paragraph explaining white glow in eyes could be a danger signal, I would have known months earlier what was wrong and queried the eye doctor when she told me not to worry.

'Because of the lack of information, I had no clue.

'An earlier diagnosis really is crucial to lessen the trauma some children endure through treatment.'

Ms Bishop's MP, Damian Hinds, Mumsnet,
Vision Express and the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) joined forces to campaign for the information
to be included in the red book.

Retinoblastoma is a childhood cancer
generally affecting retina of children from birth to six years old.
Between 40 and 50 children are diagnosed with the disease each year.

CHECT chief executive Joy Felgate said: 'Early diagnosis is essential to offer the child the best chance of saving their sight and their eyes. Parents need this information to enable them to act immediately if they notice the symptoms in their child's eyes.

'We are delighted the importance of this information for parents has been recognised and our recommended changes have been approved.'