The little girl hit by ovarian cancer at just ten days old: Olivia-Grace battled through surgery and chemotherapy to beat disease before her first birthday
Happy and smiling in her mother’s arms, Olivia-Grace Steele looks a picture of health.
But the two-year-old is one of the youngest ovarian cancer sufferers and has battled through surgery and chemotherapy.
She first showed symptoms at ten days old but it was not until she was four months old that doctors realised what was wrong.
Her mother Jessica Steele-Smith, of Oxford, said: ‘Call it mother’s instinct, but I felt very strongly for months that there was something wrong with Olivia-Grace.
‘I had spoken to medical professionals at least ten times because of her large belly and because she couldn’t keep her milk down. I was dismissed as an overanxious first-time mother.’
Mrs Steele-Smith and husband Jake Smith, a nuclear energy development worker, grew more worried as doctors diagnosed their daughter with everything from constipation to colic.
They finally found the true cause of her problems when they took her to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital where doctors found her stomach swollen with more than a litre of fluid.
An ultrasound scan revealed a 10cm mass on her right ovary, which was a rare cancerous juvenile granulosa cell tumour.
Mrs Steele-Smith, 26, said: ‘We felt awful. Far from being a cute pot belly, the fluid had been building up because of the tumour.
‘The consultants seemed to know what they were looking for immediately.
‘We were stunned to be told our baby had ovarian cancer because you tend to consider it a disease that only affects older ladies.’
Three days later on February 14, 2013, Olivia-Grace underwent an operation, which lasted for three hours, to remove the tumour.
Following the surgery she needed three weeks of chemotherapy, which caused her to lose all of her blonde hair.
But the treatment worked, and in August of that year scans showed that the cancer was in remission – all before Olivia-Grace’s first birthday.
And, when her delighted parents married in September last year, she was well enough to be one of the bridesmaids.