Scan reveals unborn child has tumour

Lisa Tilbury who is six months pregnant has been told that her baby may have a tumor in it's stomach after doctors noticed a dark patch on the scans.  Also pictured is dad Blake Carrington. Pic:  Ian Georgeson.
Lisa Tilbury who is six months pregnant has been told that her baby may have a tumor in it's stomach after doctors noticed a dark patch on the scans. Also pictured is dad Blake Carrington. Pic: Ian Georgeson.
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A PREGNANT young mum has been given the heart-breaking news that her unborn child has a tumour.

And despite the baby having just a one per cent chance of survival, Lisa Tilbury is determined to go through with the pregnancy.

The 22-year-old was devastated when doctors made the discovery at her 20-week scan.

It revealed that the baby has a tumour at the top of one of its kidneys, and fluid in its stomach.

It is not yet clear whether the tumour is cancerous or benign.

Miss Tilbury had been looking forward to having a little brother or sister for three-year-old daughter Amy until her scan revealed the tumour.

The overwhelmed mum was told she could terminate the pregnancy, but she wants to fight to give the child the best possible chance.

The Bathgate woman is even trying to raise money to travel to a renowned paediatric hospital in America for specialist treatment.

She and her family need to find £300,000 to pay for the flights and the treatment.

Miss Tilbury, who is now six months’ pregnant, said: “They said the tumour may have caused the fluid.

“They did say the baby is very ill and it might not survive in the womb or after I have given birth.”

She added: “They are just keeping an eye on it and saying there isn’t anything we can do.

“There is a one per cent chance of survival, it’s terrible. A lot of people are telling me to get rid of it, but it deserves a chance.

“I don’t think they would understand unless they go through it themselves.

“I don’t feel myself. But I’m trying to be myself for the wee one.”

The 17-week scan found no abnormalities, but when Miss Tilbury went to St John’s Hospital at Livingston for her 20-week scan, doctors found that the baby had fluid in its stomach.

She was sent to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and doctors referred her to the Southern General in Glasgow, where she was kept in overnight.

Doctors feared that the baby had a virus and needed a blood transfusion, but tests came back negative.

“I got sent home and a couple of days later, I had a check in Edinburgh,” said Miss Tilbury.

“They said the belly was still the same, with extra fluid, They did another scan and found the tumour.”

She said she knew something was wrong when the sonographer stopped scanning half-way through the ultrasound.

“They were scanning me and I couldn’t see the screen. The nurse got her colleague.

“She had a look and then she stopped scanning, and asked if the father was there. I was asking, ‘What’s wrong?’

“When I found out that I had the tumour, it was clear in the scan.

“It was about the size of a 10p piece.”

She decided against getting a copy of the 20-week scan picture – normally a treasured keepsake for parents – because the tumour was so clear in the picture.

Miss Tilbury said she did not know what to think, because doctors cannot tell whether the tumour is cancerous or a mass of tissue at this stage.

She also said she could not find out the baby’s sex yet because the fluid in its stomach has prevented doctors from carrying out this test.

She and the baby’s father, Blake Carrington, 21, have separated, but are supporting each other through the ordeal.

They are living together with his mum, Helen Carrington, in Boghall, Bathgate.

Mr Carrington said: “It’s not hit me as much as my mum and Lisa.

“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet, not for me, anyway.”

Miss Tilbury has another appointment at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on Wednesday, when she hopes more light can be shed on the situation.

She said she felt isolated and afraid at a time when she should be able to enjoy her bump.

And while most mums get to choose prams and baby clothes, she has been left desperately scouring the net for information.

“I have been asking a lot of baby groups on the internet, but nobody has a clue,” she said.

“The doctors said there’s nowhere in the UK that does the treatment. They said it was very rare to notice it unborn.

“On the websites I’ve seen, there are lots of children with tumours, but its usually diagnosed once they are born, between the age of one and ten.”

She added: “Blake wanted to put the baby to sleep when he first got told. But I had a think and I decided that I wanted to continue with it.

“The baby does deserve a chance either way – if it doesn’t survive at least it got a chance.

“But it’s too much to take in.”

The family has been desperately researching the condition to see if anyone else has gone through something similar.

They are concerned that the tumour could be neuroblastoma, an aggressive kind of children’s cancer.

While there is also a chance that the growth is non-cancerous, they are preparing themselves for the worst.

Mrs Carrington has been in contact with Boston Children’s Hospital in America, in the hope that Miss Tilbury can get specialist treatment after the baby is born.

The hospital in Massachusetts is a Harvard teaching hospital, which is home to the world’s largest research centre based at a paediatric hospital.

It has carried out extensive research into childhood cancers and tumours in children. and leads the way in clinical trials.

“The hospital is being very helpful,” said Mrs Carrington.

“We have been speaking to a representative there, which is the same as a consultant here.

“Lisa is distressed. People are trying to help.”

Specialists at the Boston hospital may be able to use a laser treatment on the tumour, but tests would have to be carried out after the birth to check the baby could cope with the procedure.

Miss Tilbury would need to raise £300,000 in total for the trip and treatment.

Mrs Carrington has launched an appeal for the cause – which she is calling Baby Carrington, Our Little Braveheart.

She said: “We are looking for anyone who has experience of this. If she goes before the baby is born, they can monitor her.

“Once the baby is born they can sometimes do laser treatment. If it’s benign, we can’t do anything here.

“We are doing research and getting information. We want to find anyone else who has been in a similar situation.”

Mrs Carrington added: “No-one seems to know what it is. It would be great to find someone else in the UK that will know what it’s like.”

Fewer than 100 children in the UK are diagnosed each year with neuroblastoma, which is the second most common tumour in childhood.

Most children who get this cancer are younger than five years old, but treatment varies depending on the age of the child.

The most common type of kidney tumour in a child is a Wilms tumour. This sometimes starts when the kidneys are forming in a fetus. Some of the kidney cells begin to grow quickly out of control, forming a mass. If the tumour is benign, it means it is made up of cells which are not that different from normal cells.

These usually only cause problems if they grow too large or press on other organs.

Several fundraising events have been organised for the Baby Carrington: Our Little Braveheart appeal, and anyone who is touched by this story is urged to help out.

The family only has three months to raise enough money to travel to America.

Mrs Carrington is in the process of organising more activities.

Although there is not enough time to register as a charity, she plans to set up an appeal bank account and email address.

A disco and buffet will be held at the Cavalier Inn, Armadale, on March 28, and a coffee morning will be held at Canon Hoban Hall, Broxburn, on April 5.

There will also be a disco and auction at Glenmavis Tavern, Bathgate, on April 18.

Mrs Carrington said: “We have not got that much time.

“But if anything happens before we manage to get to America, I’m going to put the money towards somebody else in a similar situation.”

No-one from NHS Lothian was available to comment on Miss Tilbury’s situation.

Tumour types vary in size and severity

GILLIAN Smith, director of the Royal College of Midwives Scotland, said tumours can vary drastically.

She said: “It’s wrong for me to speculate, but what they will certainly do is monitor how it might be growing on the baby.

“A lot of people think a tumour means cancer, but it may not necessarily mean that – it could just be a benign lump.” She added: “What we have to remember is we are using tools to see inside the mum and baby. It’s not like you are examining somebody on a table. To get that news must be devastating, waiting on the outcome, as every baby is precious. What she is left with in the next 16 weeks is worry and concern.”

Wilms’ tumour is a type of kidney cancer in children. About 70 children in the UK get it each year. It most often affects children under five. Girls are at a slightly higher risk than boys.

Cancer Research UK said there is often a family history of the disease. In babies, abdominal swelling and s sudden jump in nappy size are warning signs.

Surgery is always required to remove the growths. On unborn babies this is performed as keyhole surgery with only a handful of experts capable.

Cancer Research said: “Most Wilms’ tumours are quite large when they are found. Fortunately, even though they are large, most have not spread to other parts of the body.”

Scanning so important in early stages

THE 20-week anomaly scan is seen as a crucial time to pick up anything unusual in a baby.

Before this stage, the baby is often too small for the scan to see abnormalities clearly.

In the detailed ultrasound, the sonographer examines the baby’s organs and takes measurements, Kidney problems, major heart problems and missing or short limbs are among the abnormalities traced.

If the sonographer finds or suspects a problem, the woman will be given a scan with a fetal medicine specialist within three days.

One GP said most women look forward to the scan – as more detail about their baby is becoming clearer. She said: “It’s a very useful scan from a medical point of view – and can offer parents a lot of assurance at a key stage in a pregnancy. Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases, it is routine. In my experience it is very rare to find a tumour on a kidney. This shows the importance of scanning as now parents and medical staff can plan accordingly.”