Emily Smith, 23, from Bognor Regis, noticed the unusual spot when she looked at a photograph of her son, who was then 11-months-old.
The white spot, which was not visible in person, became apparent after it was lit up by the camera flash.
“The flash on my camera automatically came on as Jaxson was in the dark,” explained Smith.
“He looked so cute but when I looked back at the picture, I noticed the strange clouding behind one of his pupils.
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“It was after this that I Googled it and looked back at previous photos where we also noticed the white reflex.”
The family’s doctor confirmed the white spot was indeed reason for concern.
“She stated that in the 16 years she has been a GP she had never seen anything like it.”
Jaxson was later diagnosed by a specialist doctor with retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer.
While it was confirmed – after invasive surgery and MRI scans – that the cancer wasn’t spreading, Jaxson went through six rounds of chemotherapy in order to stabilise his condition.
In July 2017, he was declared stable – but relapsed just six months later, making further treatment a necessity.
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“We were heartbroken to find out it was beginning to grow again, despite Jaxson reacting so well to his previous treatment,” said his mother.
“They had already done laser surgery on the tumour as best they could whilst Jaxson was asleep, then, when they found the laser treatment wasn’t working, they gave him infra-arterial chemotherapy every two weeks until Jaxson had had six sessions of laser under general anaesthetic.”
Thankfully, at three, Jaxson has now been stable for 10 months. Smith says she and her partner, Owen Scrivens are “proud” of their little boy.
“‘We were told by Jaxson’s school that he is on track for everything development-wise with no concerns, I think we have always been aware that he may struggle due to being premature and also an oncology patient but we could not be more proud of our gorgeous little boy.
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“Even if he was behind we would still be just as proud, but to know despite it all he is still so kind and clever is extraordinary.”
Not all cancers are spotted in time to beat them. Earlier this month, a woman died in hospital one week after finding out she had cancer – despite the hospital she was being treated at knowing for months.