Eye tests could have caught cancer earlier, says Norwich mum
PUBLISHED: 15:00 18 February 2011 | UPDATED: 15:28 23 February 2011
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A Norwich mother whose child was struck by a rare form of cancer is urging parents to sign a petition calling on the government to introduce regular eye tests for babies.
Sam Boarder, of Colman Road, Norwich, believes routine examinations could have prevented her youngster losing an eye to retinoblastoma (RB) – a cancer of the retina.
Ewan Boarder, three, was diagnosed with the disease at the age of two after his grandmother spotted an unusual white shadow on a photograph.
By that point the cancer had already spread to nearby blood vessels and he not only needed to have his eye removed, but also underwent chemotherapy.
Mrs Boarder, 32, said: “The doctors said his tumour had been growing for months by then and an eye test would have picked it up much sooner.”
Mrs Boarder has now set up a Facebook group called “petition for all babies and children under five to have eyes tested” calling on the government to introduce checks at an earlier age.
She wants parents to join the group and sign their name on the wall. Mrs Boarder, who is also mum to five-year-old Elise, said: “The disease occurs in children mainly under the age of five and doesn’t really present itself after the age of five.
“At the moment, children don’t have proper routine testing until they are at school. I want that changed.”
She is teaming up with Sara Hammond, of Dereham, to launch the petition. Her daughter Isobel’s slight squint raised alarms last year. They took her for an eye test after realising she was struggling and were shocked by the diagnosis. The four-year-old, who also lost an eye, now needs regular hospital checks.
Mrs Hammond, 33, said: “It’s about saving any other parent from going through what we had to go through.”
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