Baby's brain tumour detected after mum notices extraordinary growth on her head

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Baby Molly was potentially days away from not making it when her tumour was removed (Image: Brain Tumour Research / SWNS)
Baby Molly was potentially days away from not making it when her tumour was removed (Image: Brain Tumour Research / SWNS)

The mum of a baby whose brain tumour was caught in the nick in the time says she was potentially days away from not making it.

Corinne Wardle says she noticed unusual changes in her daughter Molly Wardle-Hampton from just 12 weeks.

The eagle-eyed mum spent months logging Molly's symptoms, which included growths around the softest areas of her head where her skull hadn't properly formed.

Corinne, 38, said Molly also had a tilt to the side of her head, and was vomiting as well as having a noticeable fixed-eye gaze.

With the infant's head measuring "off the charts", frantic mum-of-three Corinne took her in for tests and was devastated to learn she had an ependymoma tumour on her brain.

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Baby's brain tumour detected after mum notices extraordinary growth on her headMolly's tumour was caught in the nick of time (Corinne Wardle)

Tiny Molly was able to have surgery to remove it and the family has now discovered the tot is in the clear after a healthy MRI scan.

But doctors revealed that Molly may not have survived had her treatment been delayed by as little as a day.

Corinne, who is now working with Brain Tumour Research to make other parents aware of the signs, said she is sickened to think how devastating the consequences could have been had she not reacted quickly.

The nurse, who is also mum to Leah, 12 and 11-year-old Kacey, said: "For the first few months of her life, Molly couldn't be put down and would cry every time - as if she were in pain.

"Looking back, this was one of the symptoms which pieced everything together.

"I tried different things to eliminate conditions common with new borns.

"It was both her eyes deviating outwards and her head measuring off the charts which meant she had a CT scan.

"That was when I was given the worst news you could ever hear as a parent."

Baby's brain tumour detected after mum notices extraordinary growth on her headMolly Mai Wardle-Hampton was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour at 12-weeks-old (Corinne Wardle)
Baby's brain tumour detected after mum notices extraordinary growth on her headMolly was just 12 weeks when mum Corinne Wardle noticed her symptoms (Corinne Wardle)

Molly was taken to hospital where scans showed a huge tumour filling the right side of her head, with the youngster quickly rushed to Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool for emergency surgery.

"I felt a huge relief when I was told the mass was removed," added Corinne, from Flint, North Wales.

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"Molly had to spend time in the intensive care and the high dependency due to how much blood she lost during the procedure."

The surgery quickly saw Molly's symptoms and behaviour change, which Corinne said left her "overcome with emotion".

"For the first time in her life, Molly laid on her back, staring out of the window, babbling.

"I was overcome with emotion as for the last three months she couldn't be put down.

"It was amazing to see.

"Especially after being told, had we waited any longer, that would have likely been the last day of her life."

MRI scans this week showed there was no further growth of the tumour, with Molly now due to finish her year-long clinical trial treatment.

Baby's brain tumour detected after mum notices extraordinary growth on her headMolly has been left with horrific injuries from the treatment, and will need hearing aids as a result (Corinne Wardle)

However, the youngster is not completely unscathed after the treatment left her with life-changing injuries and requiring hearing aids.

Corinne, who has worked at the Countess of Chester Hospital for five years, added: "According to Molly's oncologist, this cancer can be cured but the evidence is minimal.

"Her specific cancer - ependymoma - has subtypes that have very different outcomes and behave differently.

"So whilst we have been assured that Molly's outcome is bright, it highlights there is a need for further research into brain tumours.

"From the evidence I have studied, this terrifies me.

"Molly will likely have MRI scans for the rest of her life as there is a possibility of the tumour returning.

"Despite the risks and uncertainty, she still has a chance and that offers me some respite.

"She's recently learned to say 'Mama' which makes me smile every time I hear it."

Susie Beever

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation