Scots toddler diagnosed with rare cancer after being told she had a viral infection

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A SCOTS toddler has been diagnosed with a rare form of stage four cancer after being told three times by GP’s that she just had a viral infection. 

Flora Gentleman from Aberlady, East Lothian was diagnosed with neuroblastoma last month after previously being misdiagnosed with viral infections and leukemia.

The two-year-old’s parents Jamie Gentleman and Stephanie Kent had visited their GP several times last year after being concerned about Flora’s health.

A SCOTS toddler has been diagnosed with a rare form of stage four cancer after being told three times by GP’s that she just had a viral infection - Scottish News
Flora pictured with her father, Jamie.                                                                                                   (c) Stephanie Kent

The tot had begun to get lethargic, had a swollen stomach and her skin appeared to turn a shade of yellow.

She was diagnosed with autism in January this year shortly before the tot’s family were dealt the devastating blow last month that she also has neuroblastoma.

Jamie and Stephanie are now fighting to raise awareness and funds for future treatment for the aggressive cancer that has a 40-50% long term survival rate.

Flora is currently receiving chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiotherapy at the new Sick Kid’s Hospital in Edinburgh. 

Speaking today, Stephanie said: “In January Flora was diagnosed with autism and the months following that she got more and more poorly. 

“There were countless doctor’s visits and they all had different concerns of what it could be. 

“The GP’s thought it was a viral infection a couple of times.

A SCOTS toddler has been diagnosed with a rare form of stage four cancer after being told three times by GP’s that she just had a viral infection - Scottish News
Flora was a healthy tot before she was diagnosed last month.                                                                (c) Stephanie Kent

“Flora was really unwell, I knew there was something else wrong.

“It is a mother’s instinct. You need to trust that, we kept getting told she was fine but I knew she wasn’t. 

“By the time we went to the hospital, she was almost yellow, a really strange colour with bruised eyes. Flora was really lethargic and limp. 

“Flora is wild and always full of energy, always jumping around even when she isn’t well.” 

Stephanie said that medics initially mistakenly told her that Flora had leukemia and that “out of all the childhood cancers, that’s the one you want.” 

Leukemia is said to be more common and easier to treat than many other cancers – including Flora’s correct diagnosis of neuroblastoma.

The mother-of-one added: “After the neuroblastoma diagnosis the tone changed, it was really scary.

“We got that diagnosis the same week the new Sick Kids had opened. 

“Flora is non-verbal so even when we explain what’s going on that there is a monster in her tummy making her poorly, we still aren’t 100% sure how much she understands. 

“She has had five rounds so far, with another three to go. It’s really intense treatment and will last 18 months followed by surgery to remove the tumour in her stomach.”

Stephanie and Jamie are now working with Solving Kids Cancer, a charity run by families to raise awareness of the condition which affects 100 children a year in the UK. 

A SCOTS toddler has been diagnosed with a rare form of stage four cancer after being told three times by GP’s that she just had a viral infection - Scottish News
Stephanie took Flora to the GP multiple times after she kept getting ill.                                                   (c) Stephanie Kent

The campaign launched yesterday and has already raised over £3,000 which will be used for clinical trials in the U.S after Flora finishes the 18 months of NHS treatment. 

Flora and her family spent the first three weeks in hospital but are now back home and making daily visits to the hospital for checks and medication.

Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that forms in certain types of nerve tissue.

It usually begins from one of the adrenal glands but can also develop in the neck, chest, abdomen, or spine.

Symptoms include bone pain, a lump in the abdomen, chest, or neck, or a painless bluish lump under the skin.