An Arizona mother’s keen eye detected something might be amiss while studying photos she had taken of her infant son. Andrea Temarantz started seeing a glint in her son Ryder’s left eye caused by the flash of her cellphone, NY Daily News reported.
“I kind of chalked it up to my cellphone just being a crummy phone,” Temarantz told the Daily News. “It very well could have gotten so much bigger.”
The glint that Temarantz, 36, was actually seeing was caused by a rare cancer called retinoblastoma. Doctors confirmed Ryder’s diagnosis at his four-month check-up, and gave his parents two options: they could either remove his eye, or give him intravenous chemotherapy that may expose him to a greater risk of developing another cancer, the newspaper reported.
The family would later learn of a third option for Ryder, who also has Down syndrome. He could travel to New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for an intra-arterial chemotherapy session, which targets the affected blood vessel behind the eye through a 6-foot-long catheter entering through his groin. Patients undergo one session per month over a three month span, according to the report. Ryder is scheduled to undergo his second treatment in early February.
Dr. David Abramson, chief of ophthalmic oncology service at Memorial Sloan Kettering, told the Daily News that the process cures 99 percent of patients, and children can keep their affected eye. Abramson said he has treated 1,600 children using this method.
“Almost all of these children were scheduled to have those eyes removed somewhere,” Abramson told the Daily News. “We don’t have one child who has died from this cancer.”
The family has been updating followers through a blog called “Ryder’s Retinoblastoma Battle #PrayerForRyder,” and hopes that their story can serve as a lesson for other parents.
“We just hope for people to see how easy it would be to recognize this,” Temarantz told the Daily News. “My husband has always thought that I was ‘crazy picture mom,’ but look at us now. So early detection is the main thing.”
Retinoblastoma is the most common type of eye cancer in children and typically develops before age 5.