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Frankie Wedgewood, of Norton, 22, beats rare form of cancer
A YOUNG mum who suffered from a rare cancer which mimics pregnancy is looking forward to getting married after making a remarkable recovery.
Frankie Wedgewood, of Norton, and fiancé Will Fisher, 25, a soldier at Catterick garrison, had their first son, Freddy, in September 2011, but six months later, Frankie began to suffer from stomach pains.
Initial tests suggested Frankie, 22, was pregnant, but doctors later discovered she had choriocarcinoma - a rare quick-growing cancer that originates from a pregnancy but can spread anywhere in the body.
Frankie, a former nursery nurse, said: “I knew I wasn’t pregnant though, as my fiancé is in the Army and had been away serving so it was impossible. At first the GP thought I had an ectopic pregnancy, but tests revealed this wasn’t the case and nothing showed up on scans. It was a confusing time, I just didn’t have a clue what was going on.”
Frankie was transferred to Sheffield’s Weston Park Hospital, one of two centres in the countrythat specialise in the disease, for scans and further tests, and started a four-month course of chemotherapy last March.
The hospital treats between 40 and 50 women each year with choriocarcinoma, which is a cancer formed during pregnancy from cells which would usually develop into the placenta, and can spread anywhere in the body.
In Frankie’s case, the cancer was found on her spleen and her right lung, and she was treated in the Teenage Cancer Unit. The unit is for 16 to 25-year-olds, and allowed baby Freddy to stay with her overnight.
Jan Everard, consultant nurse at the hospital, said: “We monitor on average 600 patients a year. Of those, only about 40 patients require chemotherapy.
“Our patients are mainly young women, often with young families who are a long way from home and we are proud to be able to offer such family-centred care.”
Frankie said: “From August to November I started my second round of treatment, which was a bit harder as Freddy was one year old, but he is a good child and Will was granted leave from the army to help look after us. My mum also lives close to me, so she was a big support.
“One of the side-effects of the chemotherapy was losing all my hair, but that didn’t really bother me as I thought I would be able to try out lots of new wigs and different styles.
“The most annoying thing was drawing my eyebrows on every morning!”
Frankie has now completed her treatment, and is being monitored with monthly check-ups, and despite undergoing two bouts of chemotherapy, doctors said she should still be able to have children in future.
In the meantime, though Frankie said: “Now, I am looking forward to the future and walking down the aisle this summer where I will be thinking of all the amazing staff that helped to get me there.”