Three-and-a-half-year-old Ruby Richards has been reunited with the doctor that spotted an undiagnosed cancer in her kidney that saved her life – shortly after celebrating a year cancer-free.
Back in November 2017, a little over two weeks after Ruby’s second birthday, her parents Katie and Ashley brought her to Childrens’ Emergency Department at the Royal Derby Hospital with a wheezy chest and a bad cough.
Dr Catherine Barton treated Ruby for her cough, prescribing her with an inhaler, but noticed something slightly odd about Ruby’s stomach.
Katie Richards said: “Dr Barton assessed Ruby from top to toe, sorted the wheeze and pointed out that she had quite a large stomach which we’d always thought was nothing more than a ‘toddler tum’.”
Dr Barton then examined Ruby’s stomach and thought that she could feel something, so called for a second opinion from a Consultant, who agreed with her.
Katie continued: “Ruby’s tummy is something that had never been picked up on before, and after all of the scans and tests were done, that’s when we discovered a mass on her right kidney.”
Ruby was diagnosed with Wilm’s tumour, a type of cancer that originates in the kidneys, on 1 December 2017.
Dr Barton said: “We never expected it to turn out like this so it was a shock to me and obviously to Katie and Ashley as well.”
From there, Ruby underwent five months of treatment, including chemotherapy, before having surgery to remove her kidney on 18 January 2018.
Katie said: “She’s bounced back now and we got the all-clear in March 2018, so we’ve just celebrated a year of being cancer-free by going to Disney World in Orlando.
“It’s been a whirlwind but we’re just hoping that it’s all in our past now. She’ll just keep having regular scans and we’ll just take it from her that she’s healthy and happy now.
“Without her, even now, it may have been missed, so we’re very, very thankful to Dr Barton.”
Dr Barton, who met up with Ruby during her treatment, said that she’s thrilled to see how well she’s doing now: “It’s not something we ever expected, but we managed to catch it early and Ruby’s doing really well now and that’s just great.
“I did see Ruby when she was undergoing some treatment and she didn’t have any hair. She was doing well then, but now she’s doing so much better so it’s really nice to see that she’s well now. She’s cancer-free now which is amazing and I just hope that everything stays that way.”