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Call the Midwife features rare childhood eye cancer 

Call the Midwife features rare childhood eye cancer 

National charity the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust praised popular TV drama Call the Midwife for raising awareness of the rare cancer retinoblastoma, which typically occurs in babies and children up to the age of six.

Although some of the treatments in the show – which is set in 1969 – are different today, seeing a white glow in the eye in a photograph remains a possible sign of the cancer which needs to be checked by a health care professional.

Around one child a week in the UK is diagnosed with retinoblastoma. In the ten-year period from 2012 to 2022*, the main presenting symptoms of retinoblastoma were:

  • A white glow in the eye (observed in the eye or in a photo) – 77%
  • A new squint – 33%
  • Change in colour of iris – 9%
  • Loss of vision – 8%
  • Redness or swelling without infection – 7%
  • Roaming eyes / child not focusing – 8%
  • Absence of red eye – 1%

Richard Ashton, Chief Executive of the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust, said: “We are delighted to see the BBC raising awareness of retinoblastoma on Call the Midwife. It is so important that parents know that a white glow seen in the eye or in a photo needs to be checked by a GP or optometrist as soon as possible to rule out a serious underlying condition.”

To watch this episode of Call the Midwife, go to episode 5 of series 13 on BBC iPlayer:

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