WHEN Jess Vardy was five and had a pain in her hand, the last thing the family expected was a cancer diagnosis.
But her family were stunned to be given the news that in fact had a large tumour under her arm.
Jess, now seven, from Bishop’s Waltham, is now in remission
And as part of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the family have shared her story.
Jess’ mother Dawn said: ‘It was the day before Jess’ fifth birthday in 2012 when she complained that her hand hurt.
‘She had a fever as well, but the symptoms kept coming and going.
‘We went to the GP and had several diagnoses, including juvenile arthritis.
‘Jess was due to see a specialist in March 2013, so we waited for that appointment to find out what was wrong.’
The pain became worse and the youngster was taken to the A&E.
Ms Vardy added: ‘Doctors discovered a hard lump under Jess’ left arm, and we were transferred to Piam Brown ward in Southampton.
‘She was given an MRI scan which showed a large mass under the arm, the size of an orange.
Doctors did a biopsy and it was diagnosed as a rhabdoid tumour.
‘For us, cancer was not even on the cards as the cause. We had never before thought about cancer in children.’
A rhabdoid tumour is a rare, type of early childhood cancer, and is primarily found on the kidney.
In January last year Jess started treatment for the tumour on the highest toxic form of chemotherapy.
Once it had shrunk, an operation took place to remove the lump and radiotherapy began.
In January 2014 this year Jess was officially declared as in remission.
‘We felt we wanted to do something for the people who had given us back our daughter.
As a family we set a target to raise £1,000 but were staggered that the final total was around £6,000,’ added Mrs Vardy.
‘Please donate to the ward that gives so much to families like us who are going through cancer treatment.’
Southampton General Hospital said if the following signs appear in children then you should see your GP as soon as possible:
· An unusual lump or swelling
· Unexplained paleness and loss of energy
· Easy bruising
· An ongoing pain in one area of the body
· Unexplained fever or illness that doesn’t go away
· Frequent headaches, often with vomiting
· Sudden eye or vision changes