Mums and dads often think of social media as the last place to go when in need of medical advice. But one mum, whose daughter had been diagnosed with rare eye cancer, shows that some good can come from sharing medical advice online.
33-year-old Charlotte Salisbury took to Facebook to raise awareness about a rare eye cancer in children known as Retinoblastoma.
In her post, she details her daughter Felicity's experience along with a photo showing an odd white reflection in one of her pupils.
At nine months old, her daughter Felicity was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma after doctors found six severe tumours (three in each eye).
Screenshot from Charlotte Lucy Salisbury's Facebook post
Her Facebook post helped stop the spread of another little girl's eye cancer
Because of Salisbury's post, which was shared over 65,000 times, many parents learned about the rare eye cancer in children.
A month later, one mum shared that Salisbury's Facebook post helped her save her daughter's life.
Upon seeing Felicity's "cat eye" symptom, she recognised it as similar to something she observed in her 20-month-old daughter.
They brought her daughter Lydia to the paediatrician, who diagnosed her with Intraocular Retinoblastoma.
Her condition involved a severe type of tumour that left little to no chance of salvaging the affected eye.
Though doctors weren't able to save the eye, they were able to stop the spread of cancer. In effect, the Facebook post helped to save the life of Sharlotte's baby girl.
"If we had not seen the post we would have never known to look out for it – we are so grateful," Sharlotte told the Huffington Post.
This isn't the first time Facebook helped parents to diagnose a rare condition.
Back in 2014, a mum shared a photo of her daughter. Some of those who saw the photo noticed that her daughter's eyes were "glowing" unusually.
After getting her daughter's eye checked, the mum found out that she had Coat's Disease, a rare congenital disorder that can cause partial or total blindness. Thanks to her observant Facebook friends, they managed to save her daughter's eyesight.
Eye cancer in children: Signs mums and dads should know
Retinoblastoma is a rare cancer that is not normally screened in kids. However, it can be detected early by parents and relatives.
So it's important to observe any changes in your child's eye and bring him to the doctor in the event of anything unusual.
Here are signs to watch out for, aside from the "cat's eye" sign mentioned above:
- When you shine a light, the dark part or pupil of an eye with retinoblastoma appears white or pink (it normally appears red).
- Lazy eye or strabismus, or when the eyes seem to be looking in opposite directions
- Vision problems
- Pain in the eye
- Redness of the eye's white part
- Bleeding of the eye
- Bulging of the eye
- Pupils that don't shrink when exposed to light
- Differently coloured irises
If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, bring your child to a paediatrician or eye specialist as soon as possible.
Sources: The Huffington Post, Mayo Clinic, Time, Cancer.org
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