An identical twin from Edinburgh appeared to suffer her sister’s cancer symptoms before any diagnosis was made.
Eleven-year old siblings Megan and Sophie Walker share matching tastes and even get the same marks at school. Doctors were left baffled when Megan’s weight began to fall, she felt sick and constantly tired, while Sophie appeared absolutely fine.
Megan underwent x-rays and an MRI scan but for months the medical professionals were unable to find anything wrong with her.
In October the girls’ family made the chilling discovery that Sophie - who had remained a picture of good health while her twin was ill - had a cancer that matched the symptoms Megan had shown.
The girls then both dropped from 40kg to 35kg.
A Wilms’ tumour was found on Sophie’s kidney - a condition which affects about 70 children in the UK every year. Wilms’ is a rare type of kidney cancer usually found in children under five.
The diagnosis was “heartbreaking” for the family, the girls’ mother Rebecca told the Daily Mail.
The mum-of-nine said: “There was no indication anything was wrong with Sophie.
“It was Megan we were worried about. She was ghostly pale and drained, not her usual self at all.”
The pair are so close that when Sophie was worrying about losing her long locks, her twin asked their mum to cut her hair so they could look the same again.
“I haven’t had the heart to let her,” said Rebecca. “Megan is my reminder of how Sophie looked and hopefully will look again soon.”
The mystery remains as to why Megan exhibited Sophie’s cancer symptoms despite being the healthy twin.
Helen Turier, of the Twins and Multiple Births Association, believes that Megan adopted ‘caretaker twin’ behaviour.
“It can be common that one becomes the ‘caretaker twin’ and perhaps Megan exhibited the symptoms Sophie was feeling.”
Rebecca added: ‘They’ve put it down to the fact that they are twins. They think Megan was showing us Sophie’s symptoms before we even knew Sophie was ill.’
Sophie had the tumour removed along with her left kidney during a gruelling seven hour operation in December. She will now have chemotherapy until June and the outlook is good with an 85 per cent success rate in childhood cases.
Dad Jamie, 39, has given up his plumber’s job to help care for his daughter.
The twins’ aunt, Victoria Leask has launched a fund-raising page to help the family with living and care costs.
You can donate to the JustGiving page here.
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