Our ‘mischievous’ boy died of a 'tooth infection' a week after his 9th birthday – don't dismiss the signs | The Sun

THE FAMILY of a “mischievous” boy have revealed how he tragically lost his life to a rare cancer.

Ethan Adams, of South Shields, died at the age of just nine from rhabdomyosarcoma — after doctors initially thought he was suffering a tooth infection.

His mum Tracey said he “got upset” at the time and “thought it was his fault because he hadn't been brushing his teeth.

He had a lump in his mouth and dentists thought he had an abscess from an infected tooth.

When the lump didn’t reduce, he was taken to Sunderland hospital where scans revealed the tumours in his brain and spine in November 2020.

Ethan’s dad Mark told the BBC: “Our world just crashed.”

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Rhabdomyosarcoma affects around 55 children in Britain each year.

It causes cancer cells to form in muscle tissue and early signs include a lump or swelling that keeps getting bigger.

Lumps can appear in the head, neck, genitals, arms, legs, chest or belly.

Certain genetic diseases including Li-Fraumeni syndrome and Costello syndrome can increase the risk.

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Treatment depends on what stage a child’s disease is at, based on the size of the tumour, where it is in the body and whether it has spread to other parts.

Ethan’s scans revealed the aggressive tumours were not only in his brain and spine, but races were also in his lungs and bone marrow.

He was given chemotherapy and radiotherapy but tragically died just nine months after he was diagnosed.

Mark said he thought it was “embarrassing” the drugs used in his treatment were made in the 1960s and said more research is desperately needed.

Both Mark and Tracey have joined campaign group Alice’s Arc, which is seeking a cure for the condition.

Mark said: “We don't want other families to go through what we have had to go through, it's horrific.”

Ethan’s story was shared in parliament by Labour’s MP for South Shields Emma Lewell-Buck this week, who described him as a “mischievous and funny kid with a big heart”.

She said spending on childhood cancer research is “nowhere near enough” and improving treatments is “imperative”.

Health minister Will Quince is due to meet Mark and Tracey, after saying the Government “stands with” those affected by the devastating disease.

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He said: “Improving childhood cancer outcomes is a top priority for this Government and me personally.

“We will leave no stone unturned in our mission to beat cancer.”

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