A mum from Queensland has shared her horror and heartbreak after discovering her five-year-old daughter had cancer in a photo…

When Queensland mum, Kellie Perren, noticed a recurring ghostly white glow over her daughter’s eye in pictures, she knew something was wrong. Her daughter, Isabelle, was five years old before she was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer.

A Difficult Diagnosis

Kellie says the process of reaching a diagnosis for little Isabelle was a difficult one, and she never expected to discover her daughter had cancer in a photo. “I couldn’t explain it,” she told 7news. “I kept asking people if they could see it, but no one could see it. It was like a ghost went really quick, like you couldn’t get a good look at it.”



Eventually, doctors discovered that Isabelle had multiple tumours in both eyes and her left eye had to be removed. Retinoblastoma is notoriously difficult to detect, but illumination by flash photography can be the first indication. Dr Jayne Camuglia told 7News that though the cancer is curable in 9 out of 10 children but can have devastating consequences if not caught early.

“It does need to be detected very early,” she said. “Some children might present with a turn in their eyes.” It’s a warning that Kellie hopes other parents will take on board. “Don’t wait for somebody else to see it,” she urged viewers. “Go and get it checked.”

Have you faced your child being diagnosed with cancer? Share your story in the comments.

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  • How scary for her but good on her for acting.


  • A very perceptive and alert mum.


  • Wow will have to watch for that now. I wouldn’t have known as cameras can do funny things with a photo, but one eye being repeatedly different certainly would raise an alarm.


  • Thankfully this Mum trusted her own feelings and followed up on this because she didn’t believe the original diagnosis.
    A few weeks ago I read an article about a child who also had Cancer in his/her eye. The Mum sent a photo to somebody who noticed that the child’s eyes weren’t the same. In that case the child had to have an eye removed.


  • This is so sad. But how amazing that this was picked up by a photo. I wish for a speedy recovery. All love and support to the family.


  • Oh my goodness, how sad for the family and little girl. But lucky they found it before it was too late.


  • A photo showed me how much closer one of my daughter’s eyes had turned in comparison to her other eye and although I was constantly assured she was OK by the clinic and my GP I wasn’t happy as it seemed to be getting worse as did a little red spot in the white of her eye. I decided to take her to the Sydney Eye Hospital [a long trek from Wyong in those days] and they said they had to operate there and then – seems she had a growth in the eye that was making it turn and she was lucky that the roots of the growth didn’t go towards retina but went outwards or otherwise she would have gone blind. They removed the growth and we all lived on tenterhooks in case it came back as they said there was a possibility it could happen prior to puberty. Always trust your own instincts mums.


  • Lucky she found it – how amazing!!

    • An incredible discovery for this family. Brave and courageous of them to share this story.


  • Hopefully little Isabelle is on the road to recovery now. Luckily Mum took action when she did.


  • Always got to trust your mothers instinct.


  • Wow, poor little thing. Good thing the mum acted quickly and went with her instinct.


  • That is devastating but great that she caught it early. My daughter has multicoloured eyes and i was concerned it could be something bad and had it checked out. When i was out once a stranger told me i better get that checked out because its linked to cancer and i was beside my self! I cant believe the way she approved the situation, she was so rude about it and didn’t think about my feelings. I was lucky i had already checked it out and i told her that i had actually already had it checked out and she is perfectly fine.


  • That’s so lucky she caught it and acted on it quickly


  • A friend discovered her son had an incurable hereditary disorder by a photo, technology is amazing these days


  • So lucky she acted on her instincts and saved her babies life. Hopefully her sharing her story will result in more early diagnosis’


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