Woman dies after cancer misdiagnosed as pregnancy

Demi Wright was told she was pregnant. But the symptoms were actually caused by a deadly tumour. Photo / JustGiving.com
Demi Wright was told she was pregnant. But the symptoms were actually caused by a deadly tumour. Photo / JustGiving.com

She was a bubbly young makeup artist who was told a pain in her side was because she was pregnant.

But after 22-year-old Demi Wright's condition deteriorated she was admitted to hospital. Despite her initial blood test showing that her body was producing pregnancy hormones, further tests revealed an aggressive form of cancer.

Called adenocarcinoma, a 12cm tumour was discovered. Three weeks later she passed away.

Wright's family have been left devastated by her loss.

Speaking to the Colchester Gazette, her father Chris Wright said: "She didn't have a bad bone in her body. She had an infectious, beautiful smile and it showed her personality off. It's been devastating."

According to reports, Wright's initial misdiagnosis followed a molar pregnancy that wasn't picked up and subsequently developed into a deadly tumour.

A molar pregnancy occurs when the foetus doesn't develop properly and the placenta proliferates, forming a tumour of placental cells.

The tumour can produce pregnancy hormones which creates the effect of a viable pregnancy. It is extremely rare that a tumour would develop into cancer.

Oxford Online Pharmacy GP Dr Helen Webberley told Huffington Post UK, close monitoring of the condition can prevent complications.

"Initially, a molar pregnancy acts in the same way as a conventional pregnancy, tests are positive due to the release of the hCG hormone and there is a growth in the uterus. It is only when the patient comes for their 12-week scan that a molar pregnancy is detected.

Webberley explained that most women can expect a full recovery once the cells are removed.

"However, close follow-up is needed because there is a small chance of developing a type of cancer, as appears to be the case with this patient.

"If a cancer does develop, effective treatment is available and most women can be cured."

Wright's boyfriend, Mitch Gregory, and her family, want her remembered as a strong, positive person.

Gregory told the Daily Gazette he feels "robbed" and wants to stress her courage. "She's our inspiration now."

Her father also spoke of her positive attitude. "When we found out the cancer was terminal, she lifted herself up, she patted the bed and said, 'Dad, come and sit here'. She gave me a big hug and said: 'It's going to be okay',"

His daughter died the next day.

A fundraising page has been set up in her memory with funds raised to go to Cancer Research UK.

- nzherald.co.nz

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