Baby Inherits Cancer in the Womb

by Cassandra R. Elias

In The News: Baby Inherited Terminal Cancer While in the Womb

Baby Inherits Cancer from Deceased MotherIn one of the rarest cases of its kind, a baby has inherited cancer while still in the womb from her now deceased mother.

Nine-month old Addison Cox's mother, Briana, didn't know she had stage four melanoma during her pregnancy, and she certainly couldn't have imagined she would pass it on to her daughter. No one could. Sadly, According to Fox News, Briana lost her fight against the illness on February 12, 2012.

Doctors from Phoenix Children's Hospital, where Addison is being treated, tell azfamily.com that this is the first case they have ever seen and only the ninth case ever published.

In 2006, Briana Cox had cancer which was resolved with surgery. Her regular check-ups revealed no further problems. Then, one month after giving birth to Addison, she suffered a seizure.

Doctors told that her that her symptoms, including fatigue and memory loss, mimicked symptoms of pregnancy, and were therefore overlooked as possible symptoms of cancer.

According to her husband, James Cox, "They found she had metastasized malignant melanoma, and it spread pretty much through her whole body; shoulder, lungs and brain, brain being the worst. We asked, 'Why didn't anyone catch this?'"

Despite assurances that Addison would be fine, Briana insisted that they test her baby girl. As she feared, the doctors detected cancer in Addison. It is apparently very much like Briana's -- in the brain, her shoulder, lungs, kidney, liver, leg and back of her tongue.

As one can imagine, her mother blamed herself. Her husband assured her it wasn't, of course. "Bri went through the emotions of ‘my baby, my fault,’ but everyone told her it's not her fault. No one took better care of themselves than her."

Unfortunately, the prognosis for baby Addison is not good. She is expected to live only two years. She is being treated with an experimental drug, FDA-approved only for her, and therefore not covered by insurance.

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