06.08.2021

Pregnant woman, 29, diagnosed with terminal cancer after scan 17 weeks into her first pregnancy

Laura King, a nursery director from Surrey, beat breast cancer in 2017. Now pregnant, she has been diagnosed with bone cancer

Laura King, a nursery director from Surrey, beat breast cancer in 2017. Now pregnant, she has been diagnosed with bone cancer
A 29-year-old pregnant woman has been diagnosed with terminal bone cancer after developing a searing pain in her arm just weeks into her first pregnancy.

Laura King, a nursery director from Surrey in south east England, beat breast cancer in 2017 after several aggressive operations.

Once she got the all-clear, she and her husband of three years Drew decided they wanted to start a family.

Everything went smoothly until, just under three months into her pregnancy, she developed an agonizing pain in her arm.

Concerned, Mrs King pushed for an x-ray which revealed a shadow on her bone. An MRI confirmed the worst: she had secondary bone cancer which is generally deemed ‘incurable’ since it is incredibly difficult to treat.

She immediately started a course of targeted therapy on the bone, but cannot explore other options such as clinical trials because they could be harmful to her unborn baby – and some effective treatments are not available on the NHS.

Her friends and family are now scrambling to raise money on GoFundMe to support her during sick leave and maternity leave, and to afford emerging treatments once the baby is born.

‘For a long time I thought it was muscular. It wasn’t until I started to experience increasing and constant pain,’ Mrs King told the Evening Standard.

‘My strength and range of movement was starting to deteriorate rapidly too which made me really think something wasn’t right and pushed me to request an X-ray.’

Secondary cancers are cancers that have spread from the original site to another part of the body as cancer cells break from the original tumor and travel through the bloodstream.

Mrs King and her husband of three years Drew decided to start a family after getting the all-clear

Mrs King and her husband of three years Drew decided to start a family after getting the all-clear

Having had radiotherapy on her arm, Mrs King now needs to wait to protect the baby before other treatments

Having had radiotherapy on her arm, Mrs King now needs to wait to protect the baby before other treatments

Mrs King has secondary bone cancer – cancer which spread to the bone from the breast, the same disease Olivia Newton John is currently battling.

Once cancer has spread (metastasized) it is incredibly difficult to treat, and the tumors tend to be more aggressive.

While cancer patients are screened for spreading tumors, cells are often hard to spot, and the symptoms can masquerade as other, less serious conditions, such as bone pain, weakness or loss of appetite.

Crucially, it can be complex for pregnant cancer survivors to identify these body changes as something sinister, since they are going through so many other new bodily changes as their pregnancy develops.

As of Friday afternoon, Mrs King’s GoFundMe had just surpassed its 6,000 goal.

Mrs King’s friends who launched the page said they hoped the continued support and attention will raise awareness for the subtle signs of secondary cancers.

Speaking to the Standard, Mrs King said she initially felt awkward about the fund-raiser, but cannot express her overwhelming gratitude to all her well-wishers.

‘I have had the most amazing support from my incredible husband, family, friends and work. Including words of support, visits for when I’ve had to be off work, flowers, biscuits, sweets and pamper care packages,’ she said.

‘Of course most recently I’ve had the GoFundMe page set up to help provide the financial support.

‘This has also prompted a lot of people to reconnect and even strangers to wish me well which has been a real emotional boost.’

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