Doctor Said She Has Cancerous Growth in Her Body, But a Simple Test Has Changed the Diagnosis
“I was constantly at the doctors getting different things looked at,” said Tina Breen, of Adelaide, Australia. Tina had suffered from headaches and nausea for six months, but, inexplicably, she was gaining weight. Her kidney and liver function proved problematical with medical tests. She felt so ill she barely had the energy to work, and was becoming emotionally drained by her mysterious ailment. Finally, a specialist handed down a dreadful diagnosis. Tina Breen had a possible bowel obstruction or a cancerous growth in her body!
RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Commonly Misdiagnosed Illnesses That Can Cost Your Life
Naturally, Breen was horrified and begged for more tests. She saw three different specialists, and the final physician suggested a simple test for pregnancy. Breen was not a bit concerned about pregnancy. She had been using a contraceptive implant that lasts for five years, and the mother of four had recently switched to contraceptive injections.
Shockingly, the pregnancy test proved positive! However, the test determined that Breen was five or six weeks pregnant, and she knew that this must be a false reading. She had not been sexually active in the last five or six weeks.
Breen asked for another test. This time, a hormone called HCG was detected, which is a determiner of how advanced a pregnancy can be. Doctors suspected a more advanced pregnancy, with a cancerous embryo, possibly resulting from the contraceptive injection Breen had received. The doctor prescribed a scan to determine how the embryo could be removed.
Such a pregnancy is rare and is called a molar pregnancy. An egg is fertilized, but the placenta develops into an abnormal mass consisting only of cysts. An embryo may not form at all, or begins to develop but is so malformed that survival is not possible.
A Molar pregnancy is caused by an abnormal egg that becomes fertilized. The egg may not have a nucleus, to begin with or have an inactivated nucleus. Humans normally contain 23 pairs of chromosomes, so one of the chromosomes in each pair is donated by the father. In a molar pregnancy, the chromosomes from the mother are inactivated and the fathers are duplicated.
A partial, or incomplete molar pregnancy can occur if two sperm fertilizes the same egg. When that happens, an embryo will have 69 chromosomes, instead of the required 23. Only about one in 1,000 pregnancies are molar, and mothers are usually older than 35 or younger than 20.
RELATED ARTICLE: The Most Common Cancer Types in Women
Breen’s doctor was concerned because this type of pregnancy has serious complication as well as possibilities for a rare form of cancer. After removal of a molar pregnancy, tissue may remain and grow. Molar pregnancies can be invasive, just like cancer, and penetrate the uterine wall, causing bleeding. Early treatment is imperative, but Tina Breen had been suffering symptoms for five or six months!
Imagine the surprise and consternation of Breen and her doctor when the scan revealed that 24-week-old twins were the cause of all her symptoms! After the initial shock, the concern was that one of the twins might not be viable, or able to survive.
Breen later learned that both twins were healthy.
Needless to say, Tina, already the mother of four, was challenged by the very thought of fitting two more children into her family, let alone two babies at once! She would need to reconsider her job, her lifestyle – everything would be changed and turned upside down. At times she was not very positive about the coming delivery of twins.
The other four children made all the difference. They were extremely enthusiastic about the coming babies. Breen says now, “Their excitement really helped me through.” The new siblings were a healthy boy and a girl, Arabella, and Caleb.