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Jenna Smith Miracle baby survived cancer while still in her mother's WOMB

(By Lucy Laing) A scan revealed Jenna Smith had ­a tennis-­ball-sized neck tumour pressing on her windpipe and doctors had to perform a lifesaving tracheotomy when she was born

It is only on closer inspection that her tiny neck tube is visible – the only hint of her remarkable fight for life.

Jenna was still in the womb when a scan revealed she had ­tennis-­ball-sized neck tumour pressing on her windpipe. So when she was born doctors had to perform a lifesaving tracheotomy, ­inserting a breathing tube into her throat.

The lump proved to be cancerous so the eight-month-old has had extensive chemotherapy. Now it looks as if she has beaten the cancer – much to the relief of parents Lisa and Anthony, both 38.

Jenna Smith
But damage to her throat means she can still make only the faintest gurgle.

Anthony told the Sunday People: “Through all this we’ve never heard her cry.

"People complain about their babies keeping them up at night. But I’d give anything to hear Jenna cry.

"That would make me cry myself.”

Jenna Smith
Lisa said: “I’d never thought it was ­possible for a baby to get cancer while still in the womb.

"She’s a real miracle. She hasn’t had her first birthday and she’s already fought for her life.”

Support worker Lisa and postman Anthony, of Penrith, Cumbria, had been thrilled by the ­pregnancy. But then Lisa was diagnosed with ­diabetes in her third ­trimester, and a 32-week scan revealed the ­tumour on Jenna’s neck.

Lisa said: “The sonographer looked shocked and rushed out to get a consultant. I didn’t see the scan. I didn’t want to look. I was devastated.”

Doctors did not mention cancer but Lisa and Anthony feared the worst.

She said: “We were terrified. I couldn’t bear to think of her having cancer as an adult, let alone ­before she was born.”

Lisa’s waters broke at 34 weeks and she was taken Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary for surgery.

Surgeons performed the tracheotomy before the umbilical cord was cut.

When I came to I couldn’t ­believe how big the lump on her throat was, sad Lisa. “But she was alive and lying in my arms.”

After two weeks in ­intensive care, the lump was taken out and tests showed it was cancerous. Dad Anthony said: “It was ­just horrendous.”

Lisa added: “We just cried constantly. To be told our baby had cancer was ­heartbreaking, unbelievable.”

Jenna began gruelling chemotherapy sessions with monthly scans to check her progress. The couple replace her breathing tube every week but have to watch to make sure she does not pull it out.

Jenna Smith family
Brave Jenna has spent much of the holidays in hospital on chemo.

“Babies should playing on mats and gurgling,” said Lisa. “Instead she’s tired and exhausted from chemo.”

But the New Year promises a brighter ­future.

Doctors want her to finish ­treatment in February, confident the cancer has gone. In March surgeons hope to work towards removing her tube.

“When Jenna’s older we’ll tell her how lucky she’s been,” said Lisa.

Anthony said: “We are so incredibly proud. Jenna’s the strongest one of all of us. She’s been the one carrying us.”

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