Pregnancy in preteens is incredibly rare. The average girl begins menstruating around the age of 12, but for some girls, puberty can happen earlier and this can lead to pregnancies – the youngest of which in history happened to a five-year-old who went through early onset puberty.
But for a “pregnant” 11-year-old in Australia, the cause of her baby bump was a lot more sinister.
Eleven-year-old Cherish-Rose Lavelle’s mom knew that something was wrong when she suddenly began to lose weight. Like any concerned parent, she took her to a doctor who, after a quick examination, immediately transferred her to Hervey Bay Hospital in Brisbane by plane.
Even though Cherish-Rose had been losing weight, one part of her body was growing – her stomach. Despite her young age, this caused doctors to speculate about whether or not she could be pregnant, however, a number of tests revealed soon the shocking truth.
The mass growing on Cherish-Rose’s stomach was not caused by a baby, but by a colossal 10kg ovarian tumor.
Ovarian cancer typically occurs in women who are above the age of 40, but sadly, some women are unlucky enough to develop it earlier in life. Last year, a girl of 16 was diagnosed and she was thought to be the youngest ever person to develop the disease.
However, Cherish-Rose is proof that ovarian cancer can happen even earlier in life.
The 11-year-old had aggressive germ-cell cancer which, according to her mother, resulted in her being in a lot of pain in the two months leading up to her diagnosis. She said that Cherish-Rose’s once bubbly personality suddenly changed.
“This morning she was bright and smiling but right now she is very down,” Ms. Lavelle told the Daily Mail Australia. “She’s not feeling great.”
“It’s going to be a long journey,” she continued.
Ms. Lavelle revealed that she had initially worried that Cherish-Rose was suffering from an eating disorder.
“This is something I want parents to be aware of as I thought she was suffering an eating disorder from being bullied for being overweight,” she said, in reference to the 11-year-old’s stomach.
“She suddenly lost 14-15kg and I started to demand food into her because I was frightened and then when the pain started in her belly and back I was clueless.”
As a result of her shocking diagnosis, Cherish-Rose will be spending the next few months of her life in hospital having chemotherapy and surgery to remove the 10kg mass from her ovaries. Thankfully, the prognosis for her recovery is good.
“Now I’ve been told that it is curable I am so relieved,” Ms. Lavelle said. “Now my life has changed nothing else matters at all.”
While there is no denying that Cherish-Rose’s story is shocking, a girl even younger than she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015.
At the age of eight, Chrissy Turner from Utah discovered a lump on her chest. Not wanting to worry herself or her parents, she simply hoped that it would go away, but when it didn’t, she eventually told her mother Annette about it.
Sadly, both Annette and Chrissy’s father Troy had both previously suffered from cancer so they immediately took her to a doctor.
Because of Chrissy’s age, it took a while for her to be diagnosed. However, the third doctor she saw confirmed the shocking truth that she did, indeed, as her parents feared, have breast cancer. This made her the youngest diagnosed case in the world.
A month after being diagnosed, Chrissy had the lump removed before it had a chance to spread to other parts of her body. This involved a mastectomy, despite the fact that she had not even started puberty yet.
Check out the video below where she discusses her unbelievable diagnosis:
After the operation, Chrissy was given the good news that she was cancer-free. However, her mother now worries about how having a mastectomy before hitting puberty will affect her later in life. As a result, she is set to have breast reconstruction surgery, if she chooses, in her teens.
We wish Chrissy and Cherish-Rose all the best in their continued recoveries.