Boy, six, visited his GP 11 TIMES before he was taken to A&E and diagnosed with the ‘largest tumour medics had ever seen’
- Ellis Edwards, from Bournemouth, has stage four aggressive neuroblastoma
- The rare childhood cancer caused a tumour to crush his left lung
- He has gone through 10 months of extensive treatment since diagnosis in March
- Parents Carly and Andrew said they took him to his GP 11 times with symptoms
A six-year-old boy visited his GP a staggering 11 times before he was diagnosed with the ‘largest tumour medics had seen’ at A&E.
Ellis Edwards, from Bournemouth, Dorset, has stage four aggressive neuroblastoma, causing a cancerous tumour which crushed his left lung.
It was missed on successive trips to the doctor when Ellis’s parents, Carly and Andrew, noticed the youngster was lacking energy and losing weight.
He was eventually diagnosed in March 2019, aged just five, and has since gone through ten months of extensive treatment.
In December, doctors said Ellis’s chances of survival were ’50-50′. Neuroblastoma is a rare childhood cancer with heartbreakingly low survival statistics.
Ellis Edwards, from Bournemouth, Dorset, visited his GP a staggering 11 times before being diagnosed with the ‘largest tumour medics had seen’. He is pictured in his school uniform
Ellis was eventually diagnosed with neuroblastoma in March 2019, aged just five, and has since gone through ten months of extensive treatment
Parents Carly and Andrew noticed Ellis (pictured right) was lacking energy and losing weight so took him to the GP. The couple are pictured with their other son, William
The family are speaking out about their ordeal to mark world cancer day today.
The most common symptoms of neuroblastoma, which around 100 children are diagnosed with every years in the UK and 800 in the US, are poor appetite, weight loss and lethargy.
Ellis was allegedly seen by his GP 11 times with these symptoms before his parents decided to go to A&E to get answers.
X-rays discovered Ellis’s left lung had been deflated by what doctors later described as the ‘largest tumour they had seen’.
He was immediately taken in an ambulance to Southampton General Hospital, 33 miles (53km) from his home, where he was put on emergency chemotherapy.
By 6pm that evening his diagnosis of the rare child cancer had been confirmed.
He needed life-or-death surgery in October to remove the large tumour from his lung after having it shrunk by treatment.
Before the operation, Mr and Mrs Edwards were told to say their goodbyes just in case, according to The Mirror.
The brave youngster has been receiving care at Southampton General Hospital ever since. His family are staying at a house nearby ran by the charity CLIC Sargent.
Ellis is will soon be allowed to return home to continue his treatment, leaving his mother ‘feeling positive for the first time in months’.
Mrs Edwards, 37, said: ‘We have more tests coming up, and his survival is still far from guaranteed, but for the first time in months we feel positive.
X-rays discovered Ellis’s left lung had been deflated by what doctors later described as the ‘largest tumour they had seen’. He was five at the time of his diagnosis
WHAT IS NEUROBLASTOMA?
Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer that affects children and usually starts in the abdomen.
Around 100 children, who are typically under five, are diagnosed every year in the UK.
The disease affects approximately 800 new children annually in the US.
In around half of cases, neuroblastoma spreads to other parts of the body, particularly the liver and skin.
Neuroblastoma’s cause is unclear. There may be a family-history link.
The main symptom is usually a lump in the abdomen, which may cause swelling, discomfort or pain.
If the disease affects the spinal cord, it can lead to numbness, weakness and loss of movement in the lower part of the body.
Treatment depends on how advanced the cancer is and the risk it will return after therapy.
Surgery, and chemo and radiotherapy, are commonly used.
Source: Cancer Research UK
‘We were told to prepare ourselves for the worst and pack our bags for a long stay before being blue-lighted together in an ambulance to Southampton General.’
Neuroblastoma develops from immature nerve cells which run up the back of a child’s abdomen, chest and into the skull following the line of the spinal cord.
Because early symptoms are vague, neuroblastoma is often not diagnosed until it is stage four when it has spread around the body.
Neuroblastoma has one of the lowest survival rates of all childhood cancers, with only 67 per cent of patients surviving to five years, according to Children with Cancer UK.
It is the same disease that claimed the life of young Sunderland football fan Bradley Lowery in 2017.
He touched the nation with his remarkable story and beautiful friendship with footballer Jermain Defoe.
CLIC Sargent, founded in 2005, have supplied support to Ellis’s family since his diagnosis.
Mr Edwards said: ‘Without CLIC Sargent’s amazing help I don’t know how we’d have coped these past few months – to be able to stay together in amazing facilities, for free, it means everything to us.
‘The house was an oasis of calm and quiet when we most needed it.’
The children’s cancer charity are now asking members of the public to donate £2 by buying a ‘band against cancer’ wristband.
Liz Blunt, CLIC Sargent’s fundraising and engagement manager for Hampshire and Dorset, said: ‘Today, 12 more children and young people in the UK will hear the devastating news that they have cancer.
‘A cancer diagnosis disrupts every aspect of a young person’s life but with your help, we can fight for these families by providing practical, emotional and financial support, to help minimise the damage cancer causes.
‘Donating and getting one of our bands is a simple way to show your support for families like Ellis’s.’
The wristbands are also available in J D Wetherspoon pubs, Morrisons stores and select H Samuel and Ernest Jones stores.
To find out more about World Cancer Day and to get your own Band Against Cancer wristband, visit here.
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