According to a story reported by The Mirror, Madeleine Cooper, an 8-year-old girl who woke up in the middle of the night screaming, was diagnosed with night terrors by several doctors. All had missed the signs of a malignant tumor.
Alarm clocks that repeat
It is a story that can be frightening, but which can also call for more vigilance regarding the pain that persists, even among our children. According to the newspaper The Mirror, in 2019, Madeleine Cooper, an 8-year-old English girl, started waking up in the middle of the night, screaming, thus waking up her parents. Worried, they preferred to consult, but the response they received did not vary, despite successive awakenings and a situation that did not go away.
“We took her to the GP three times and saw a different doctor each time. Every time we were there we were told it was nothing more than night terrors” testifies the mother of the child in the English media.
Night terrors are characterized by a child who becomes agitated in the middle of the night and sometimes begins to scream or cry without being able to reason with him. But in Madeleine’s case, the reason for her awakenings was more problematic.
Night pains that indicated a tumor
If Madeleine woke up at night, it was not out of fear, but because of recurring pain in her lower back and buttocks. Advised by a nurse friend, the parents end up taking their child to the hospital:
“During the ultrasound exam, we were told there was a mass the size of a grapefruit and the doctors strongly believed it was a tumor. We were completely devastated. At this At this stage, it had not yet been confirmed that it was cancer. We only received this news a few days later. It was the worst weekend of our lives.”
The little girl suffered from a stage 4 malignant germ cell tumor, a tumor resulting from the transformation of primitive cells intended to produce eggs in women and sperm in men. She has since been taken care of, undergoing several rounds of chemotherapy, as well as an operation. But to date, everything is back to normal and the whole family is involved in childhood cancer research.
These signs of childhood cancer that we know little about
Although extremely rare at this age, childhood cancers are sometimes difficult to detect, due to signs that do not mean much to us. (It is much more common to face night terrors, let’s be honest.) Interviewed by TipsForWomens last October, Dr Daniel Orbach, pediatrician specializing in oncology at the Institut Curie, spoke to us about the signs which should invite parents to consult, and night pain is one of them.
- A white spot in the retina, called leukocoria, is not a classic symptom and should prompt you to consult an ophthalmologist urgently (via your doctor, without waiting 3 months). This white spot may be a sign of retinoblastoma ;
- Bone painwhich last more than 15 days, and are unilateral, in one leg for example, you should consult;
- Nocturnal pain must question you. “A migraine is functional, and does not last overnight. A brain tumor, on the other hand, will be painful at night”;
- Any symptoms that last more than 15 days without reason ;
- A balla desensitized nerve problem should also invite you to consult.
According to him, when faced with a situation that does not go away, consultation is necessary, like seeing your doctor again.
“The most important message is above all to say that when your child has a symptom that you do not know about, then it is necessary to see your doctor again, or for them to reschedule you within 2- 3 weeks to check if it has completely disappeared or if further tests are needed.”
An attitude followed by the parents, who saved little Madeleine today.