A seven-year-old girl who went into hospital with stomach pains had her life saved when doctors discovered a tumour – the size of a grapefruit on her ovary.
Ellie-Louise Lewis was rushed to hospital on January 18 by her worried mum Rachel, 25, with suspected gastroenteritis.
But after her stomach swelled to give her the appearance of “looking pregnant” doctors diagnosed her with juvenile granulosa – a rare form of cancer.
Four days later she underwent a three hour operation to have the 12cm (4.7in) malignant tumour removed from her ovary.
Mum Rachel, from Carlton, Notts., took her ill daughter to their GP after she complained of having stomach pains.
They were told to go straight to Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre where doctors diagnosed her with cancer.
Mum-of-two Rachel, 25, said: “She was massive, if she wasn’t seven, I would have thought she was pregnant.
“She had that grey colour that people have when they look like they’re going to die.
“Everyone was shocked. You just don’t expect this to happen to your daughter.
“I thought I was going to lose her – she was really ill.
“We were waiting up in intensive care – I was just panicking. It was the longest three hours of my life.
“She usually does not stop, but she’s very quiet at the moment.
“She’s usually the loudest. She used to love swimming but she can’t now. She’s upset about that.
“She loves singing and dancing and loves One Direction – it does my head in.
“Hopefully nothing will come back, but it’s still scary. The main thing is being there for her.”
Most patients with the tumours are adults, but five per cent are in the early stages of puberty or pre-pubescent.
The cancer originates in the granulosa cell in the sex cord – a tube that links to testes in males and ovarian follicles in women.
For females, it can often be necessary to perform an ovariectomy to treat the condition.
Ellie-Louise had an ovary removed along with the tumour and will have four sessions of chemotherapy over three months with MRI scans every three months to check the cancer does not return.
Grandad Alex Lewis, 48, added: “When we first saw her in hospital we didn’t think she was going to make it.
“The weight of it was stopping her breathing. If I could have taken it off her, I would. I’d have preferred it to be me.
“She looked like she had two footballs in her belly. It was terrifying but we are just so grateful she was diagnosed early.
“She still has to go through chemotherapy and we are hoping to send her to America for specialist treatment but we are trying to stay positive.”
Professor Richard Grundy, who is Ellie-Louise’s consultant, said: “The tumour was life-threatening.
“We had to seek international guidance on how best to treat her.
“We had plans to operate but she became increasingly unwell over the weekend.
“It was a large tumour in a small girl. It’s a relatively difficult operation and she came through it very well.”
Angela Horsley, clinical lead at the hospital, said: “We are very grateful to the Lewis family for their fundraising efforts.
“Our children’s cancer wards offer some of the highest-quality care in the country and all the money raised will be used to bring the ward environment up to those high standards.”