A devastated mum has shared how her six-year-old was given the devastating news that he had a rare cancer on his birthday.
Alexandra Jones, 29, from Merseyside, shared how she noticed “two lumps” on her “little superhero” Leighton’s head in April this year, leading her to take the six-year-old to a walk-in treatment centre. However, the two times she took him she claims they were told that Leighton was fine and that there was nothing to worry about.
However, according to the Liverpool Echo, the family was forced to return to the centre when a “tear” opened up on Leighton’s eye. He was then referred to Wigan Eye Hospital and mum-of-four Alexandra was told by doctors that Leighton needed an MRI scan “urgently.”
It was soon discovered that Leighton had cancer, specifically Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer of which there are around 3,300 new cases appearing in people every year, with fewer than 60 of them each year being children like Leighton.
Speaking about the intitial diagnosis, Alexandra said: “After the scan, the doctor came out and told us it was a tumour. He had to have all these different scans because they didn’t know what cancer it was at first. It all happened quite fast.
“My whole world was broken in half. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know what to say. You just never expect it, ever.
“I just kept thinking why my little boy, he’s always been happy and healthy since he was a baby. He was the only one of my children who never really got sick before.
“He had the first biopsy done and that’s when I found out the news that they’d found something and that it was definitely cancerous, but they didn’t know what it was. That was on his sixth birthday, it wasn’t the nicest of news to hear on his birthday.
“Then he had another biopsy, I think it was the next week, and we found out pretty soon afterwards what it was. I explained it to my two older girls who are about only 10 and nine because I thought they could help me explain it to him.
“I had to tell Leighton exactly what it was.”
Rhabdomyosarcoma is diagnosed in less than 60 children every year, with most cases happening in children below the age of 10. Though rare, it is the most commonly occurring sarcoma (cancer which begins in the bones and connective tissues) in children.
The prognosis of each case of Rhabdomyosarcoma depends on a variety of factors, however recent developments in the treatment of the cancer have significantly improved outcomes for sufferers. However, even if a round of treatment is successful, there is a greater risk of getting a secondary cancer later in life.
Alexandra added: “Because of the type of cancer it is, it comes with a higher chance of him getting a secondary cancer later in life. He’s had nine cycles of chemotherapy, with the last one being this weekend, which is amazing.
“He’s then got to go through another eight weeks of radiotherapy – six weeks on his head and two weeks on his lungs. That comes with another added risk because it can also cause a secondary cancer.
“Don’t get me wrong, the outcome at the moment is looking positive. But there is that worry, what if? Because we’re nearing the end of the treatment it’s starting to become a nightmare I have quite regularly of thinking what if it does come back.
“He actually asked me the other day, he came up to me and said ‘mummy what if I get it again’ and I didn’t know what to say to him.”
You can find out more about Leighton’s condition and other sarcomas at sarcoma.org.uk/