In a terrifying, but very rare, case, a 22-year-old British woman died three weeks after a cancer diagnosis that was at first mistaken for pregnancy.
As a child, Demi Wright, from Colchester, England, had a benign tumor on her liver and had frequent checkups that continued into her teens. But in November last year, the young woman began experiencing a pain in her side and visited a doctor, the Telegraph reported.
The potential cause of her pain was a happy one — pregnancy. Doctors conducted tests and found that she had high levels of the same hormone that shows up when a woman is pregnant, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). She was sent to the maternity ward for an ultrasound.
However, the result confused Demi’s father, Chris.
“It was strange because she had been using the contraceptive pill and there were no other signs of her being pregnant. I went to an ultrasound with her and they were looking to see what was happening.”
And though the signs of pregnancy were right there in the young woman’s test results, the doctor didn’t find a baby. Her condition soon deteriorated, although media reports didn’t reveal how long after the unusual discovery that Demi fell ill.
According to the Independent, she was sent to the Addenbrooke Hospital in Cambridge and there, Wright and her family were given a diagnosis they didn’t expect.
The 22-year-old wasn’t pregnant, she had cancer. More tests revealed that she had 4.5 inch tumor on her liver, People added. Worse, doctors eventually determined that the cancer, adenocarcinoma, was terminal.
The cancer had spread throughout her entire body. Chris said his daughter never cried, even when she found out that there was no hope of survival. As the end of her life drew unexpectedly near, three weeks after her initial diagnosis, she offered words of hope to her grieving father, he recalled.
“I absolutely broke down and she patted the bed and told me to sit by her and she gave me a big hug and said, ‘It’s going to be okay.’ The next day, she passed away.”
She died on February 23.
Demi’s boyfriend, Mitch Gregory, told local media that the family feels “robbed,” but lauded his girlfriend for her incredible bravery.
“It needs to be stressed how much courage she had,” he said. “She’s our inspiration now.”
Parents Chris and Roz have been inundated with condolences and described their daughter as “bubbly, positive and cheerful.” Mr. Wright added that she “didn’t have a bad bone in her body. She had an infectious, beautiful smile and it showed her personality off.”
So how could cancer possibly be mistaken for pregnancy? Medical Daily went into more detail about Demi’s condition, which evidently originated in her uterus.
This form of cancer, terminal adenocarcinoma, develops in the body’s mucus-secreting glands. When the cancer begins in the uterus, it’s called a molar pregnancy. Such a pregnancy is created when contraception is flawed in the moment the egg and sperm join. They start just like a regular pregnancy, and therefore their true nature isn’t discovered until at least 12 weeks.
This growth in the uterus releases the HCG hormone, found in Demi’s test results, just like it would for a normal pregnancy.
This form of cancer is usually treatable with surgery, radiation therapy, or chemo. It’s survivable if the cancer cells are completely removed from the uterus. In rare cases, however, it proves deadly.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, scientists recently discovered cancer’s so-called “Achilles heel.” They found a “flag” that shows up on each cancerous tumor, regardless of how far it has spread, and which can be targeted and destroyed by a patient’s own immune system.
[Image via Romaset/Shutterstock]