Why family of Sonning girl diagnosed with brain tumour aged two believe cancer treatment must change

Tap top watch a video report by ITV News Meridian's James Dunham

The family of a nine-year old girl who was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour when she was a toddler have welcomed a charity's £1.5 million commitment to help look into kinder forms of treatment for childhood cancer.

Layla Mistry from Sonning, Berkshire was aged two when she started being sick and experiencing difficulties with her balance.

Her mother Nimita initially thought it was an ear infection before doctors later confirmed the presence of medulloblastoma, an aggressive form of the disease.

Years of punishing hospital procedures such as chemotherapy and stem cell transplants have led to Layla being in remission but she's been left with short and long term side effects such as hearing loss, ordination difficulties and is at risk of kidney problems.

The treatment methods are often used in adults and Nimita believes that's why there's been a lasting effect and is happy to see investment in research,

"It means a lot because we need to find treatments that are going to be safer and kinder for children and ultimately a cure if possible. But we need better outcomes for children like Layla, and they need to be able to live a normal life as possible.

"There just isn't enough funding or research that goes into children's cancer. And a lot of the treatments that were used for Layla, the chemotherapies, they are all based on adult drugs developed for adults and developed decades and decades ago.

"And that's probably one of the main root causes of why children like Layla have the side effects that they do. They just they just weren't meant weren't meant for children.

"So by committing the funds that they are committing is just steps forward and making sure that we are putting more money towards children's cancer."

Layla was diagnosed with the disease when she was two years old old Credit: ITV Meridian

Around 500 children and young people in the UK are diagnosed with a brain tumour each year.

The Brain Tumour Charity has now pledged one point five million pounds to fund research into improved treatments, to look what drives medulloblastoma.

While Layla is doing well at school and is taking exams in piano and ballet, two of her favourite hobbies, she hopes the announcement will lead to improved outcomes for children like her.

"I think it's important children like me can grow up and have a normal life", says Layla.

Layla hopes more targeted treatment for children will improve the outcome for others Credit: ITV Meridian

Emma Thompson, Head of Research at The Brain Tumour Charity said, "Our Quest for Cures grants encourage collaborative teams to join forces to improve our understanding of brain tumours.

"These grants bring together the best researchers in the field and are very much focused on improving the lives of those with this devastating diagnosis.

"We hope that this will bring benefits to patients faster while working towards The Brain Tumour Charity’s goal of accelerating a cure for brain tumours."

The charity says these are the some of the symptoms of brain tumours in children:

  • Headaches

  • Changes in vision

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Balance problems

  • Seizures

  • Behaviour changes

  • Abnormal head position

  • Delayed puberty

  • Abnormal growth

  • Reduced consciousness

  • Excessive thirst

And in adults:

  • Headaches

  • Changes in vision

  • Seizures

  • Nausea & dizziness

  • Tiredness

  • Loss of taste and smell

More stories from ITV News Meridian