LOOKING back on photographs of her beautiful baby boy, Katy Bishop can actually see the cancer in his eyes.
One-year-old Owen Bishop’s tumours showed up as a white version of red-eye on pictures taken of him as a baby.
But at the time Katy dismissed it, thinking there was something wrong with the camera.
Now she is warning other parents to look out for ‘white eye’ – in case their child has a similar illness.
The 31-year-old said: ‘A lot of people don’t know what it means and they happily click away, taking pictures of their child not realising that something could be dangerously wrong. I didn’t realise until I was told by a consultant.
‘The cancer is very rare and affects only about 40 to 50 kids. More parents may be able to diagnose their children earlier if they know about it.’
Owen was five-months- old when doctors realised there was something seriously wrong with his eyes.
They were treating him for a squint and prescribed glasses. But a few months later he developed mystagmus – when the eyes begin to wobble.
An ultrasound scan revealed the tumours and doctors told Mrs Bishop they would have to put Owen under anaesthetic to investigate.
She said: ‘The three days before they did it were probably the worst three days of my life. I got myself into such a state I ended up ringing the hospital and saying “please tell me it’s not a brain tumour”.
‘When they said the tumour was in his eye I was shocked. I’d never even heard of eye cancer before.’
Owen was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma and treatment started immediately. He had to undergo intensive chemotherapy and blood transfusions.
But four months on his hair has grown back and he is progressing well.
‘It was hard for him, having to go through all that,’ said Katy, who lives in Petersfield.
‘When most toddlers are busy exploring the world, he was sick and battling cancer. But Owen has bounced back and he is running around like a normal one-year-old again and is much happier.’
The youngster may require further treatment if the tumours in his eyes continue to grow throughout his early childhood.
Mrs Bishop and husband Scott have since raised £5,500 for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust which they say was ‘invaluable’.
And Owen has been given a Little Star award from Cancer Research UK for bravely getting through the treatment.
To find out more call the Trust on 020 7377 5578 or go to chect.org.uk.