British Unborn Baby Fought Off Cancer in the Womb, Now Healthy Child

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 7, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Unborn Baby Fought Off Cancer in the Womb, Now Healthy Child Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 7, 2006

Swansea, England ( — Kiah Thomas will celebrate her fifth birthday next week but the little girl was never supposed to be this old. Kiah surprised physicians by battling cancer when she was an unborn child still in her mothers womb. Amazingly, she beat the disease.

Doctors at Llanelli’s Prince Philip Hospital found signs of a tumor during a scan on Kiah’s mother Denise Ashford.

Nineteen years old and 14 weeks pregnant at the time, Ashford, now a health care worker, was taken to experts in Cardiff for further tests.

According to a Western Mail newspaper report, doctors told Ashford that Kiah had neuroblastoma, a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in nerve tissue of the adrenal gland, neck, chest, or spinal cord.

Neuroblastoma most often begins during early childhood, usually in children younger than 5 years. It sometimes forms before birth but is usually found later, when the tumor begins to grow and cause symptoms. In rare cases, neuroblastoma may be found before birth by fetal ultrasound.

Doctors asked Denise and her partner, Peter Thomas, if they wanted to consider an abortion because of Kiah’s condition, but they refused and told the newspaper they hoped for a "miracle."

“Although the doctor said I should maybe consider an abortion, I was adamant I was not going to give up my baby," Ashford told The Sun newspaper.

The couple monitored the growth of the tumor over the next few weeks and the fourth time they conducted a scan they were told it had begun to reduce in size.

"The doctors told us that sometimes in very small children this type of tumor can shrink over time. But then over the next four weeks, we were given some even more unbelievable news — the tumor had disappeared altogether," Ashford told the Western Mail.

Kiah was eventually born and weighed 6 pounds 1 ounce and after numerous tests her parents were told she was perfectly healthy.

Dr. Antonya Cooper, who chairs the Neuroblastoma Society in England, told the newspaper that its very rare for the cancer to be detected in a baby before birth and for it to then disappear.

Click here to see a picture of little Kiah as a baby:,,2006310288,00.jpg