Baby Contracts Mother’s Cancer in Womb

Baby Contracts Mother’s Cancer in Womb

A baby contracted a form of skin cancer from her mother while she was in the womb. Addison, about to turn two, is such a fighter, having survived chemo, radiation and even brain surgeries. Read on to find out more about pregnancy and cancer.

Pregnancy and cancer is every mother’s worst nightmare. Addison Cox contracted cancer from her mum, while still in the womb. This miracle baby is still alive today and getting ready for her second birthday in May.

RELATED: My pregnant bump was actually a melon-sized cancer growth

Addison is certainly not a quitter as her father James Cox told ABCnews: “[Addison's] original diagnosis was 12 to 18 months. She has basically doubled her life expectancy already.” At just six weeks, doctors had discovered that tumours had already spread throughout her tiny body.

Addison’s mother, Brianna unfortunately did not survive the cancer. She passed on in February last year at the age of 33. Brianna developed melanoma while pregnant with baby Addison--a very rare medical mystery where the mother’s cancer cells crosses the placenta barrier to affect the developing fetus. In June 2011, both mother and baby were diagnosed with stage four melanoma.

RELATED: Parent loses child to cancer

Cancer treatment for Addison

Cancer ravages the body and can be very painful, even for an adult. The disease has spread to Addison’s leg, shoulder, lungs, kidney, liver, the back of her tongue and also her brain. Bright-eyed Addison has braced and braved chemotherapy, radiation and brain surgery at the Phoenix Children’s hospital. She has been on chemo for 20 months straight and just one month ago this little angel survived two brain surgeries at just four days apart. Not many adults can claim to have lived through such a feat.

Pregnancy and cancer

For mothers who are wondering if cancer can indeed pass on to a fetus while still in the womb--pay attention! According to a pediatric oncologist who treated Addison at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Dr Pooja Hingorani, this passing on of cancer during pregnancy has been seen “a handful of times” in medical literature.

According to Hingorani in an ABCNews report: “All cancer can happen in pregnancy. But melanoma is the most common cancer to pass through the placenta from the mother." She added: “When it is in the blood stream, it can go everywhere.”

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is skin cancer and it starts in the cells that produce melanin. Around 76,000 new cases are discovered each year and 9,100 don’t survive. The main cause for melanoma is excessive sun exposure.

Doctor Hingorani shares that cancer among women, especially of childbearing age is on the rise. If you’ve had melanoma, please inform your doctor when you’re pregnant. She added on the topic of pregnancy and cancer: "After the birth, the placenta needs to be examined carefully. It's hard to say if we would have picked it up at birth, if Addison would have had a less extent of disease."

Please watch this video clip about how to identify melanoma and to protect your kids from sunburn. The key is education and recognising the signs before it is too late:

If you have a suspicious looking mole that you aren't quite sure about, download this app called SpotCheck. Click on the given link for more details on the free app.

RELATED: Sun care and protection tips for your kid to minimise the risk of skin cancer

Pregnancy and cancer cases on the rise

According to a report on Today about pregnancy and cancer, doctors confirm that out of 1,000 pregnant women, one gets cancer. And in the United States alone about 3,500 cases are identified annually. Women are giving birth later in life—due to careers and other priorities. Statistics show that the number of women diagnosed with cancer while pregnant, especially breast cancer is on the rise.

RELATED: Pregnancy for older women

We hope that you have picked up some important insights on pregnancy and cancer. 

Got a parenting concern? Read articles or ask away and get instant answers on our app. Download theAsianparent Community on iOS or Android now!

Written by

Felicia Chin

app info
get app banner