'Losing my baby was crushing. Then I was told the news: my placenta had become cancerous.'

In 2015, 27-year-old Sam was on top of the world.

The Queenslander had opened a private dental practice in Gympie with her husband Adam, and had just found out she was pregnant. Sadly, their joy was short-lived.

Soon after the exciting news, Sam was told the pregnancy was a molar pregnancy and not viable, and she would have to have the embryo surgically removed.

During the surgery doctors found her placenta had turned into a choriocarcinoma – a malignant form of gestational trophoblastic disease.

The cells that should have formed Sam’s placenta instead had turned into a cancerous tumour. This is an extremely rare gynaecological cancer.

Further scans revealed the cancer had spread to her lungs and that her blood count was half of what it should be.

“Adam and I were devastated – first to lose a baby, and then to be diagnosed with cancer. We went from the most incredible news of finding out we’d be parents, to something as far from that as possible,” Sam said.

“It was something I never thought I would have to go through, let alone at 27.

“I am the first to admit Adam and I shed many tears, but, I am a big believer that life only throws at you what you can handle.”

‘Challenging’ is the world Sam uses to describe what came next.

“Treatment involved five months of weekly chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells that were rapidly multiplying in my body,” she said.


“I was told this type of cancer responds well to treatment, but I was still so scared.

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Sam after undergoing chemotherapy. Image: Supplied.

“I was so lucky to have an amazing support group around me. My mum was at every appointment and I’ll appreciate that for the rest of my life.

“Then there was my friends and family, the doctors and nurses, right through to patients at the dental practice bringing in meals, flowers and well-wishes. I was so supported and looked after, which made the journey more bearable.


“Adam was particularly amazing, even though he had just lost his baby too, and now he was seeing me go through this, but he was there for me every step of the way.”

Following chemotherapy, Sam had monthly blood test reviews with her oncologist, and finally received the longed-for news that she could try to have a baby again.

She is now mum to Olivia, who was born in November 2017.

“My pregnancy was smooth-sailing, but given my history, it almost felt too good to be to true,” Sam said.

“I would breathe a sigh of relief at every scan once I heard the heartbeat. I am not normally an anxious or worried person, but I so scared I was going to receive bad news.

“When Olivia arrived, and we saw her for the first time, she made everything we had been through worthwhile. She is beautiful, and I feel so lucky to be her mum.”

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Sam, Adam and Olivia. Image: Supplied.

Sam is sharing her story in the hope it raises awareness for rarer gynaecological cancers, and Cancer Council’s Girls’ Night In campaign.

Girls’ Night In encourages women to catch up and donate the money they would have spent on a night out to help save the lives of more women, like Sam.

It is a fun, simple way for women to raise funds and awareness for women’s cancers.

Cancer Council is the only charity in Australia that funds research into breast and gynaecological cancers, while also providing support for anyone affected by women’s cancers.

By getting the girls together and hosting an event you can help Cancer Council support more than 21,890 women like Sam diagnosed with a breast or gynaecological cancer each year.

Register your event at