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Rob Delaney urges all parents to know surprising sign of a brain tumour after baby son died

COMEDIAN and TV star Rob Delaney has shared a key warning sign for all parents to watch for, after losing his baby son to cancer.

American Rob, 43, is best known for hit Channel 4 sitcom Catastrophe, which he stars in and writes with Sharon Horgan.

Rob Delaney with his son Henry, who died of a brain tumour when he was two
The comedian and actor lives in London with his wife, a teacher, and Henry’s three brothers
Henry died at just two years old after developing a brain tumour

He lives in London with his teacher wife, Leah, who recently gave birth to their fourth son.

In January 2018, the couple’s son Henry died at just two years old after developing a brain tumour.

Speaking on Elizabeth Day’s podcast, How to Fail, the actor, who has just released his new book A Heart That Works, said his family saw several doctors before getting the diagnosis.

“A tumour is hard to recognise in a small child,” he explained.

“One special symptom I like to talk about, just in case anyone every witnesses this so they can get a diagnosis faster, is the effortless vomiting.”

When a healthy person vomits, they experience retching and pain.

“But if you have something in your head (such as a tumour) crowding space and pushing on your brain to vomit just comes up effortlessly without warning, or discomfort,” Rob added.

Remembering his son, the star said the toddler had “weird, hauntingly beautiful” blue eyes.



“In the beginning before he started to show the symptoms of having a brain tumour, he was the third of three boys so he was basically born into a zoo,” he told podcast host, Elizabeth.

“And his approach was just to be very sweet and loveable and magnetically attractive.

“And then he got sick, and that was terrifying.

“You know, to watch a baby lose weight because they can’t keep food down is you know, you’re in a panic.

“So we were going from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital and specialists trying to figure it out. And a tumour is hard to recognise.”

Rob told Elizabeth, it was only when the couple saw an older doctor, that they were asked about Henry’s vomiting – and if it was “effortless”.

About 400 children in the UK develop brain tumours each year, with boys being more affected than girls, according to the Children’s Cancer and Leukemia group.

And some 85 children will die each year from the killer cancer.

What are the other brain cancer symptoms in children?

Cancer Research UK said brain cancer symptoms can vary between kids.

However, it’s important for them to see their GP and get them checked over if they have the following symptoms:

  • headaches
  • feeling or being sick
  • seizures (fits)
  • problems with their eyes or vision
  • problems with their strength, balance or coordination
  • changes in their behaviour
  • problems with their posture
  • delayed or stopped puberty
  • your baby’s head measures larger than it should

Brain tumours can cause these symptoms because:

  • they take up space inside the skull when they grow
  • of the position of the tumour in the brain

Who is more at risk of developing a brain tumour?

Anybody can develop a brain tumour but research has shown that there are factors that can increase the chances of developing one.

People who have previously suffered from cancer are more at risk as are the elderly and people who have a family history of brain tumours.

HIV/AIDS sufferers are also twice as likely to develop a brain tumour and exposure to certain types of radiation also account for some growths.

Model Caprice Bourret revealed she had been diagnosed with a brain tumour

How can doctors treat brain tumours?

Treatment for brain tumours depends on where it is located and how advanced it is.

But the main treatment options include steroids, which can help to reduce the swelling around a tumour.

This can be followed up with surgery to remove the tumour if it is safe to do so.

Other treatment options include chemotherapy and radiotherapy to get rid of any remaining cells left behind from surgery.

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