A brave mum is in the fight of her life, after doctors discovered a soccer ball sized tumour growing alongside her unborn baby.

Queensland mum Emily Wiles was 33 weeks pregnant when the tumour was found, with doctors delivering her baby and removing the tumour just seven days later.


The 28-year-old started experiencing cramping at 30 weeks, with the pain causing her to head to emergency two weeks later. After being transferred to Mater Hospital Brisbane, an ultrasounds revealed a growth on her ovaries.

“Had I not been pregnant, I would have associated the symptoms with periods – cramping, funny bowel movements – and I find that to be really scary,” Emily said.


After giving birth and enduring the three hour operation to remove the growth, Emily recovered with her newborn. Days later, test revealed that the tumour was Small Cell Carcinoma of the Ovary, Hypercalcemic Type (SCCOHT) – one of the most dangerous forms of ovarian cancer.

“Of every 10,000 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, no more than one will be diagnosed with SCCOHT,” Mater Hospital Brisbane Gynaecological Oncologist Dr Rhett Morton said

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynaecological cancer, with a five-year survival rate of 49%.

“Importantly, the symptoms of ovarian cancer are similar across all subtypes – they are often non-specific abdominal or pelvic symptoms that may only be noticed when tumour growth has become advanced and can be frequently attributed to other conditions.

“A key message is that persistent or progressive symptoms, even if vague or non-specific, should prompt people to present for further assessment, as Emily and her husband, Luke, did,” Dr Morton said.


Emily’s husband Luke says finding out his wife had undetected cancer while she was pregnant was confronting.

“We were shocked there was a tumour growing alongside baby this whole time,” he said.

“Thankfully, we knew Eli was healthy and safe, and everyone was confident he would do just fine despite being seven weeks early.”

Eli is now eight-weeks-old, and is at home with his family, which includes his 20-month-old brother Asa.


Emily is halfway through six rounds of chemotherapy, with a stem cell transplant also on the cards.

“The rarity of Emily’s situation makes accurate prognosis very difficult, as there are only a small number of reported cases,” Mater Cancer Care Centre Senior Medical Oncologist Dr Catherine Shannon said.

“The evidence we do have suggests very aggressive treatments return the best outcome and survival for the patient, hence why we’re looking at a stem cell transplant, which will allow us to escalate the intensity of chemotherapy.”

Ovarian Cancer Facts

  • Ovarian cancer is commonly diagnosed over the age of 50 but can occur at any age.
  • There is no available screening test for ovarian cancer, which means most cases are advanced when they are detected.
  • Common symptoms include bloating, eating less and feeling fuller, abdominal pain and bladder problems. In most cases, these symptoms will not be caused by cancer, but women should speak to a doctor if these symptoms persist.
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  • Gosh that would be hard to deal with. Having surgery, a prem baby and cancer treatment. I hope this family has an army of support and love to help them through this.


  • Whoa! How scary!!! I can’t even imagine


  • Wow. Lucky she got it looked in to, what a scary experience


  • All the very best to her healing and ongoing health. Definitely a little miracle baby who may have saved mummas life


  • i got Goosebumps when i read this story. glad that she recovered. so amazed about our bodies


  • Gosh that isnt good news to hear but good it was removed


  • Not what you want to find out when giving birth to a newborn. I wish her all the best and a full recovery.


  • Wow that would be so terrifying for her. So happy to see the baby is save and Mum is getting taken care of, too.


  • The size of that tumour is so scary. So glad she has delivered a healthy baby and wish her family all the love and support they need.


  • Wow that is scary. Glad that they were able to operate to remove it. Wishing her all the best for recovery.


  • Yes, so often ovarian cancer and related conditions go undiagnosed for too long.


  • How lucky they found this – most people I know who have been diagnosed with Ovarian cancer usually find it’s too late for treatment. On very lucky young mum with two beautiful boys now, and a great chance of recovery.


  • Wow, so glad that they found it & she is getting treatment for it. I wish her all the best in her journey, and hope she has many years ahead with her gorgeous little family


  • Glad they found it when they did and really hope her treatment goes well and this beautiful family get many wonderful years together.


  • What a traumatic and scary experience. Hope she is well now


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