The Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) is urging parents to be aware of the warning signs of a devastating childhood cancer at the start of National Eye Health Awareness Week (18-24 September).
Based on the well loved childhood game, I Spy, the latest campaign from the charity aims to teach parents how to spot the signs and symptoms of retinoblastoma (Rb), after figures from the charity found 86% of parents had either never heard of Rb or did not know much about it.
The survey, of more than 1,000 mums and dads with children aged from birth to six, also found significant confusion amongst parents over the signs and symptoms of Rb; a rare form of eye cancer.
Retinoblastoma affects babies and young children under the age of six and around one child is diagnosed in the UK every week. Symptoms are often subtle and can include a squint, a change in iris colour or a white glow in a child’s eye which can be seen either in dim lighting or when a photo is taken using a flash. Sadly, more than 70% of children will lose an eye to stop the cancer spreading.
CHECT’s campaign – launched with the help of digital agency Wunderman UK – draws its inspiration from real-life cases, and urges parents to be aware of their child’s eye health and to take them to see their GP or optician if they notice any changes or have any concerns.
Patrick Tonks, Chief Executive of CHECT, said: “Our figures found 86% of parents had either never heard of retinoblastoma or didn’t know much about it. The signs and symptoms of this devastating cancer are subtle so it’s vital that mums and dads are aware otherwise they could easily be missed.
“Parents usually know when their little one is unwell but with retinoblastoma, children often seem perfectly happy and healthy so it’s much harder to spot. We want all parents to learn to spot the signs and to take their child to see their GP or optician if they have any concerns at all.”
Patrick adds: “Retinoblastoma is rare and symptoms like a squint or white eye are often nothing to worry about but they should always be checked to rule out anything serious.”