A HEREFORDSHIRE mum has told of her young son's battle with a rare form of childhood cancer.

Kaiden-Lee O'Brien, aged two, of Hereford, was last year diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a type of eye cancer that can affect young children, usually under the age of five.

The cancer can either affect one or both eyes, however if it is picked up early, it can often be successfully treated.

A few days before Christmas, Kaiden-Lee's mum Tina Newman was changing him on the sofa at their house in Newton Farm.


When her son looked up she noticed a white shadow in his right eye.

Kaiden-Lee after his operation.     Picture courtesy of Tina NewmanKaiden Lee's eye before the diagnosis

He was referred to Birmingham Children's Hospital for tests after doctors in Hereford raised concerns that it might be cancer.

The tests came back and Ms Newman was given the bad news.

They explained that Kaiden-Lee had already lost sight in his right eye and that the best option would be to have it removed to try and stop it spreading.

Ms Newman said: "We broke down on hearing the news, it was the worst day of our lives.

"Being told that your child has cancer and that he is going to lose an eye, we wondered how it could happen to him."

On Kaiden-Lee's second birthday at the end of January this year, the family travelled up to Birmingham again for him to have the operation.


Ms Newman said it was the longest three hours that she had ever experienced waiting for the operation to finish and hoping for a positive outcome.

After the operation and the tests that followed, it had proved a success and thanks to the removal of Kaiden-Lee's eye, he wouldn't need chemotherapy.

Ms Newman said: "After the operation he was back to his normal self.

"We were just over the moon that it had been successful and that he didn't need chemotherapy."

The signs to look out for with Retinoblastoma.

The signs to look out for with Retinoblastoma.

Ms Newman and her partner Steven wanted to share her story to raise awareness of the disease and to warn other parents of symptoms to look out for.

In the UK, on average, about 98 per cent of children will survive retinoblastoma but early diagnosis is very important.

To learn more about the disease and the early signs to look for, visit www.chect.org.uk/about-retinoblastoma-2/#signs