When Myla Adams’ parents Tony and Stephanie noticed a swelling in her right eye in June last year they assumed it was a minor eye infection that a course of antibiotics would soon clear up.
by Laura Milne, Daily Express
But after four trips to their GP in Drighlington, Leeds and with the swelling showing no signs of going away, the two-year-old toddler was referred to an eye specialist.
The doctor immediately suspected that the swelling was more sinister than an infection and ordered an MRI scan, telling Stephanie, 26, that he thought the swelling was cancerous.
He was right. On July 4 Myla was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare soft tissue cancer.
“We got the shock of our lives,” says Tony, 29, an electrician. “We honestly thought it was just some sort of infection.”
Rhabdomyosarcoma (more commonly known as RMS) is a sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that develops in the supporting tissues of the body, such as bone, muscle or cartilage. RMS is the most common of the soft tissue sarcomas in children. Tumours develop from muscle or fibrous tissue and can grow in any part of the body but are most commonly found in the head and neck, the bladder or genital area.
Fewer than 60 children are diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in the UK each year and most of them are below the age of 10.
In Myla’s case the tumour was lodged in the muscle behind her right eye. Although tests showed that the cancer had not spread, it had grown to such an extent that her eye was being distorted and her cheek appeared swollen.
Doctors were concerned about the pressure it was placing on Myla’s optic nerve, posing the risk that she could lose her sight.
Treatment began the next day when Myla was started on an intense chemotherapy regimen.
Within three weeks her long hair had fallen out and she became very sick and listless as a side effect of the treatment.
“It was heartbreaking to watch,” says Tony. “Myla had always been such a little whirlwind, always full of laughter and she loved putting on little performances for us to watch.
“She’d always been so full of confidence. The treatment made her a shadow of her former self. She was very sick and to see her hair coming out in clumps was heartbreaking. She was so weak that she could barely walk a few steps without falling.”
In September. a scan showed that Myla had responded well to chemotherapy and it was decided that proton therapy would be a good option to eradicate the rest of the tumour.
Full Express article here