By Alexa Kaczka
A year-long campaign by a leading eyecare charity that has been backed by a number of key figures has proven successful.
The Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT), in association with Damian Hinds MP and parenting website Mumsnet, has been calling on Department of Health-approved publications aimed at parents to publish information on the signs of the eye cancer retinoblastoma.
After being launched last May, the campaign gathered thousands of signatures online using Twitter and Facebook to garner support.
Now, the warning signs of the fast-growing eye cancer are to be included in each new copy of the Personal Child Health Record, also known as the Red Book, which is distributed to every parent in the UK upon the birth of their child.
According to the charity, parents will now have a "fighting chance" of seeking medical help for their child in time to save their sight and eyes.
Currently, the majority of children with the rare eye cancer will have to lose one or both eyes in order to save their life, because diagnosis comes too late for alternative treatments.
There has also been no official information on the signs of the disease available to alert parents to seek help if they notice a symptom of this rare, but aggressive, eye cancer, until now.
Joy Felgate, chief executive of CHECT, said it is particularly vital for parents to be aware of the symptoms in the case of children with retinoblastoma, as most show no other signs of illness despite having a life-threatening condition.
"Early diagnosis is essential to offer the child the best chance of saving their sight and their eyes - parents need this information to enable them to act immediately if they notice the symptoms in their child's eyes," she added.
Mr Hinds added: "I welcome its inclusion in the Red Book as a much-needed tool to help ensure that affected children can get help early and avoid tragedy."
by Emily Tait