Good news at last for baby diagnosed with cancer at just two hours old

A baby boy has endured gruelling chemotherapy and his parents are awaiting the 'all clear' after becoming the first infant to be diagnosed with cancer - at just two hours old.

An eagle-eyed midwife knew something was wrong minutes after she delivered little Evan Wilson and experts confirmed he was suffering from liver cancer two hours later.

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Tough Evan - Britain's youngest liver cancer sufferer - was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma. He underwent emergency surgery and embarked on a gruelling six-month course of chemotherapy - enduring his first session at just 12 days old.

Evan, now six months, has finished his treatment and is waiting for the all-clear following a final MRI scan. Mum Lorraine, 39, who lives with husband Scott, 41, in East Dunbartonshire, Scotland, said: "It was horrendous to go through as a mother.

"None of the doctors knew what dose of chemo to give him because they had never had to treat anyone so young. They said they even called a cancer expert in England and he didn't know either, so they had to make a decision among themselves.

"We honestly thought he was going to die. I thought the doctors were going to tell us to enjoy Evan while we still had him. But when they came back and said they could help I was overjoyed.

"You wouldn't know he was sick to look at him now, he's really boisterous like any other baby boy. We have been told it is extremely rare for a child to be born with cancer and that he is the youngest person even in Britain to be diagnosed because usually it isn't spotted until later."

Lorraine's pregnancy went well and she gave birth to 6lb 9oz Evan at Glasgow's Princess Royal Hospital on November 18 last year after a 15-minute labour.

But the midwife spotted an abnormality in Evan's stomach and he was taken away and diagnosed with liver cancer, making him one of only a handful of babies born in Britain to develop cancer in the womb.

Evan underwent his first of seven chemotherapy sessions at just 12 days old in a bid to shrink the size of the tumour - and has since gone under the knife to remove his gall bladder and half his cancer-ravaged liver.

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Lorraine said: "I only held Evan for a few minutes when they took him off me and all this began. I was howling, I was completely irrational, I didn't know what to do. It sounds strange, but when they told us it was just liver cancer we jumped for joy because that meant it hadn't spread.

"If it had the doctors said his chances would have been reduced massively."

Lorraine and husband Scott, who also have another daughter Jorja, six, now have an anxious two week wait for the results of Evan's MRI scan to see if Evan is in the clear.

She added: "Evan has been through a lot in his short life but he doesn't know any different. He has a bond with all the staff at the hospital because they have become a sort of family to him.

"He has had septicaemia twice since have a central line fitted but he is alright now. Apart from a central gastric feeding tube in his nose he looks like a normal healthy boy.

"I can't praise the doctors enough, it is their skill and dedication that saved him especially with him being the youngest cancer patient in Britain, which is a title I wish he didn't have.

"It's funny because Evan doesn't mind all his tubes and treatment, but the one thing that does bother him is his teething troubles."

Evan's consultant Dr Jairam Sastry, from Yorkhill Hospital, said he was the youngest patient ever to be diagnosed post-natally with cancer in Scotland and the youngest person diagnosed with a liver tumour in the UK.

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He said: "Because of the rarity of his case, we consulted with a number of other UK specialists to determine the appropriate chemotherapy dosage.

"But there were no guidelines as to how much chemotherapy should be given to him because there were no cases in the database which matched Evan's age.

"We had to carry out special measurements of his blood levels to find the right dosage. We also checked with the Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group and we discovered that he was the youngest person in the UK to have a liver tumour.

"All the ultrasound results show that he is in remission and the MRI scan he has undergone is basically just to confirm that. He has done really, really well. He has responded very well to treatment and his prognosis is very good."

Dad Scott said there may have been a "tentative link" between Evan's cancer and a condition he himself suffered from as a young man in his 20s.

He said: "We were seen by geneticists a few weeks after Evan's diagnosis and they basically said it was probably just very bad luck. But they did say there might have been a tentative link between the cancer and a condition called familial polyposis I had when I was 22."

The condition - the growth of polyps in the gut - led to Scott having to have his large intestine removed to prevent the possibility of a later outbreak of cancer.

Dr Milind Ronghe, Consultant Paediatric Oncologist at Yorkhill Royal Hospital, said:
"Cancer in newborn babies is very rare.

"The exact prevalence is difficult to determine, but in the United States the prevalence of cancer in the first month of life was reported in medical literature as 36.5 cases per million births."

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