Mum’s story of cancer that mimics pregnancy

Frankie Wedgewood, right, with fiance Will and son Freddy
Frankie Wedgewood, right, with fiance Will and son Freddy
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A young mum believed she was pregnant after suffering stomach pains only to discover she actually had a rare form of cancer.

The ordeal for Frankie Wedgewood began just six months after she and fiancé, Will, welcomed their first son, Freddy, in to the world in September, 2011.

She had gone to her doctor to complain of stomach pains with initial tests showing that she was pregnant.

“I knew I wasn’t pregnant though as my fiancé is in the Army and had been away serving so it was impossible,” said Miss Wedgewood, 22, of Malton.

“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. I was then transferred to Weston Park Hospital for scans and further tests.”

Doctors at the Teenage Cancer Unit of the Sheffield-based hospital discovered Frankie had Choriocarcinoma – a quick-growing form of cancer that originates from a pregnancy but can spread anywhere in the body.

Miss Wedgewood was treated at Weston Park Hospital due to the hospital’s specialist expertise in this area, one of only two centres in the United Kingdom that treats patients with the condition.

She started a four month course of chemotherapy in March last year and was treated on the Teenage Cancer Unit where baby Freddy was also able to stay with her.

Miss Wedgewood, a nursery nurse, added: “What made things a lot easier during my treatment is that Freddy was allowed to stay overnight with me when I was on the TCU.

“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!

“I’ve now completed my treatment and I’m being closely monitored and will return to Weston Park Hospital soon for check-ups. The nurses are great and if I have any problems or queries I know I can contact them.

“But 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.”

Around 600 patients are monitored on average at Weston Park Hospital each year with only around 40 of those requiring chemotherapy.

“Research has shown the importance of centralised care for improving

The work of the hospital is supported by the Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity with funds used to help provide a “home from home” feel to the Teenage Cancer Unit along with a range of activities.