While doctors work from set lists of symptoms and signs when making a diagnosis, sometimes they can miss something vital – and one mum is urging parents everywhere to trust their instincts and always get a second opinion following her own ordeal.
Holly Pate, from Georgia in the US, has launched a campaign of awareness after her eight-year-old son, Connor, was diagnosed with brain cancer.
Connor’s illness started out with common symptoms of a flu, including headaches and vomiting, but his doctors assured Holly that it was just a bug that would pass.
However, medics had to sit up and take notice when, six months later, Connor was still suffering with the same symptoms, only worse now.
Finally, in December, a team of doctors ordered an MRI for Connor, and they made a shocking discovery – a brain tumour. Thankfully, the tumour was removed during an invasive 13-hour surgery, but things could have worked out so much worse if it had gone undiscovered for much longer.
With Connor now undergoing chemotherapy and radiation as part of his recovery, the Pate family have set a Facebook page, Prayers for Connor Pate, to garner support and spread awareness.
The symptoms of medulloblastoma (malignant brain tumour/ brain cancer) are known to overlap with those of the common flu, and so parents are urged to study their child’s symptoms carefully.
Medulloblastoma is typically accompanied by morning headaches and vomiting, while fever is not usually a symptom of the condition. Of course, any long-running illness that stretches out to the extent of Connor’s is also going to be a cause for concern, and you should always get a second opinion if you are worried.