A nine-month-old baby is fighting for her life after being diagnosed with stage four cancer which was passed from her mother during pregnancy - a rare medical occurrence.
When police officer Briana Cox, from Phoenix, was diagnosed with melanoma after having a seizure when her daughter was three months old, doctors assured her the baby was healthy.
But Briana - whose own body was riddled with cancer - insisted on having her daughter tested, and doctors discovered she had the same cancer as her mother. It had also spread throughout the baby's body.
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Shock diagnosis: Briana Cox had no idea she - or her baby Addison - had cancer until three months after the birth when she had a seizure and was diagnosed, as was her daughter
Unaware: Police officer Briana Cox was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 and thought it was gone after routine checkups which did not detect it had returned
Addison was born with stage four melanoma, passed from her mother while in utero. It is such a rare medical occurrence, scientists only discovered it was even possible in 2009.
Briana Cox, did not know she had cancer when she was pregnant with her fourth child.
First diagnosed with melanoma in 2006, she had surgery to remove the tumor and was given the all clear.
PASSING CANCER FROM MOTHER TO BABY IN UTERO
She then went for routine checkups every three months, then every six and finally once a year. Doctors assured the mother-of-four there were no cancerous cells in her body.
But last June, only three months after giving birth to baby Addison, Briana had a seizure and doctors discovered the cancer was back.
Her husband James told azfamily.com: 'They found she had metastasized malignant melanoma and it spread pretty much through her whole body, shoulder, lungs and brain - the worst of it being in her brain.
'We asked, "Why didn't anyone catch this?"'
He said, though doctors assured Briana her daughter was fine, she demanded they test her baby and she too was diagnosed.
Mr Cox said: 'It's very similar to her mother's - in the brain, one in her shoulder, in her lungs, kidney, liver, leg, even the back of her tongue.
'Bri went through the emotions of "my baby, my fault", but everyone told her it's not her fault. No one took better care of themselves than her.'
Briana lost her battle with cancer on February 12 and the prognosis for her daughter is not good.
Doctors say there is no cure and she has been given just two more years to live.
According to Phoenix Children's Hospital, this is the first case they've ever seen of its kind and Addison is only the ninth case ever published.
It was previously thought that if a mother did pass cancer through the placenta, the child's immune system would have detected and destroyed it.
Mother's instinct: Though doctors assured Briana her baby was fine, she insisted on having her tested and it was discovered she too had stage four melanoma all over her body as well
Family: Briana lost her battle with cancer two weeks ago and leaves behind her husband and other children
Brave baby: Though she has only been given about two years to live, Addison Cox is a happy child and her father said she is a 'fighter, just like her mom'
But in 2009, scientists found a mutated gene in both cancers that makes them effectively invisible to the body’s defenses.
Professor Mel Greaves, from the University of London, who led the study, said: 'It appears that in this and, we presume, other cases of mother-to-offspring cancer, the maternal cancer cells did cross the placenta into the developing fetus and succeeded in implanting because they were invisible. '
Fundraisers are being held to raise money for Addison's medicine which may prolong her life and ease her suffering.
Mr Cox said of his daughter: 'You would think this is one of the happiest babies on the face of the earth. She's a fighter like her mom. She's showed no signs of pain.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2107635/Toddler-fights-life-born-stage-cancer-passed-utero-mother--died-weeks-ago.html#ixzz1ni8zjqHe