The parents of a baby diagnosed with liver cancer at just two hours old are waiting to hear if he has the all-clear after six months of treatment.
Evan Wilson was born at Glasgow’s Princess Royal Hospital on November 18, 2011, weighing in at 6lb 9oz after a brief 15-minute labour.
His mother and father’s joy was cut short, however, when doctors quickly diagnosed the child with hepatoblastoma, a rare form of liver cancer.
Lorraine Wilson, 39, who lives with her husband Scott, 41, and Evan, in Lennoxtown, East Dunbartonshire said: "It was horrendous to go through as a mother.”
Evan underwent emergency surgery and was put on a six-month course of chemotherapy beginning at just 12 days old.
Mrs Wilson added: "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."
Evan has completed his treatment and, following a final MRI scan on Wednesday, his parents are awaiting the results of the chemotherapy.
Mrs Wilson’s pregnancy had gone to term without complication and there were no signs of any problems. However, after Evan’s birth the midwife who handed him to his mother noticed an abnormal swelling in his stomach. Doctors conducted tests and concluded he was suffering from liver cancer, making him one of only a handful of babies born in Britain to develop cancer in the womb.
He was transferred to Yorkhill Royal Hospital for Sick Children later that day but it was another two days before Mrs Wilson, a psychiatric nurse, was told there was a possible course of treatment for Evan. He underwent the first of seven chemotherapy sessions at 12 days old to reduce the size of the tumour. On April 4, 2012, he was taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for an operation to remove his gall bladder and half of his liver. His chemotherapy continued and his last session took place at the end of April.
Mrs Wilson 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."
Mr and Mrs Wilson, who have a six-year-old daughter Jorja, have to wait another fortnight to learn the outcome of the MRI tests. Evan will receive regular check-ups until he is five and is given the all-clear.
Mrs Wilson added that Evan is coping well with his condition and she praised the doctors who have worked hard to help him.
She said: "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.”
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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