LIFESTYLE
28/09/2015 10:35 BST | Updated 28/09/2015 10:59 BST

Small 'Miracle' For Brave Teen Who Faced Hysterectomy After Being Diagnosed With Ovarian Cancer

A teenager who was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer and had bravely chosen to undergo a hysterectomy, has been given a second chance to keep her womb.

Riley Benado, 18, from Paso Robles in California, was scheduled in to have a hysterectomy on 26 September, however surgeons managed to remove just one of her ovaries and all of the tumours, instead.

Her parents have since written a blog post which hails the surgery as a "miracle".

Before her operation, Benado wrote on her GoFundMe page of the "heartbreak" which faced her as she had always dreamed of having her own children.

But now, it seems, she might have that chance after all.

riley benado

Riley Benado, 18, before the surgery

Benado first went to her gynaecologist on 14 September complaining of severe bloating and pain in her pelvis. In fact, the swelling was so bad that she "looked five months pregnant".

Despite her claims that she was still a virgin, doctors gave Benado a pregnancy test - the results of which were negative.

After an ultrasound detected an abnormal amount of fluid in her stomach, they sent Benado for a CAT scan to check her ovaries and appendix.

The tests revealed she also had an 11 by 13cm mass on one of her ovaries and enlarged lymph nodes.

Just 11 days after her first appointment, Benado was given the heartbreaking diagnosis of Stage 3 ovarian cancer.

According to Cancer Research UK, Stage 3 means that the cancer has spread into the abdominal cavity or lymph nodes in the upper abdomen, groin or behind the womb.

In the UK, ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in females.

It becomes more common with increasing age - three quarters of new ovarian cancer cases in the UK are diagnosed in women aged 55 and over - however in the past 30 years, the incidence of ovarian cancer in females aged 15-39 has increased by 56%.

SEE ALSO:

Woman With No Ovaries 'Diagnosed With Ovarian Cancer'

Young Women Risking Health By Avoiding 'Vagina' Discussions With GP, Ovarian Cancer Charity Warns

What Mother's Day Is Like For An Ovarian Cancer Survivor Unable To Have Children

The Paso Robles High School graduate and former cheerleading captain said of her heartbreaking diagnosis: "I couldn't believe what I was hearing."

"At this age, removal of these parts of my body is not only scary, but it's heartbreaking.

"I have always dreamed of having my own children and raising a family. I love kids so much, so to know I will never have a child with my own genes and my own characteristics breaks me down."

On 26 September, she was scheduled to have a hysterectomy to give her the best fighting chance to survive.

But the following day Benado's parents updated her personal blog and said that a small "miracle" had happened as doctors were able to save one of their daughter's ovaries and her uterus.

"The bad news is the doctor said both her and the pathologist on site... are actually completely baffled by the type of ovarian tumours she has," they added.

"It is so, so rare that they could not determine any answers immediately. Her [Riley's] entire abdomen was infected with small tumours that had spread beyond her ovaries."

Thankfully, surgeons were able to remove all of the tumours from her body and the fluid in her abdomen has cleared.

Her parents wrote: "Oftentimes we associate the idea of cancer with death... But I am happy to report our Riley is not going anywhere anytime soon!

"Please keep her in your prayers and continue to send your love her way. These next two weeks of 'what ifs' will be unnerving but today we celebrate a miracle!"

Family and friends of Riley have launched a GoFundMe page called 'Rally For Riley' to help fund her treatment. So far they have managed to raise nearly $30,000 (roughly £20,000).

"I hope my journey inspires others and helps anyone going through similar challenges to understand that they, too can overcome a difficult battle," wrote Benado.

"Thank you for your love, support, encouragement, and contribution to this fight. Together, I believe we can beat this!”

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