Saffron Pedroche Dies: UK Girl, 17, Is Youngest Person To Die Of Goblet Cell Carcinoma, A Rare Cancer

By Philip Ross on March 13, 2013 11:01 AM EDT

Saffron Pedroche Cancer
Goblet cell carcinoma is a rare gastrointestinal tract tumor that usually affects the elderly. Saffron Pedroche, at just 17 years old, is the youngest person to die from this rare disease. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Saffron Pedroche, 17, was diagnosed with goblet cell carcinoma, an aggressive form of cancer, making her the youngest person ever in the UK to be identified as having this type of cancer, which usually affects the elderly. Saffron Pedroche found out about her condition in September of last year and was given two weeks to live, but survived another four months, until February 2013. She died at her home in Bristol.  

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Doctors said that only eight other teenagers in the world, all in the U.S., had gotten this extremely rare type of cancer.  

Saffron Pedroche, a college student, went into the hospital last September with a swollen leg. After a number of tests were performed, the young woman was given the shocking news that she was in the advanced stages of the cancer, and that it had spread from her stomach to the rest of her body, the Daily Mail reported.

A ceremony was held for the teenager last month in her home town of Bristol, a city in South West England. An obituary, published in the Bristol Evening Post on Feb. 22, and which appears to be written by her grandparents, reads:  

"Precious memories of our darling granddaughter Saffy. A loving smile a beautiful face A special girl we could never replace. Some day we'll understand. Brokenhearted Nanny and Grandad."

Goblet cell carcinoma is a type of neuroendocrine tumor, a tumor that develops from cells that release hormones, and forms from goblet cells. Goblet cells are those that line internal organs and make mucus, so named for their goblet-like shape. The National Cancer Institute states that the type of cancer Saffron Pedroche had is a form of carcinoid tumor, which affects approximately two per 100,000 persons worldwide. The average age of a person diagnosed with this type of tumor is 61.4 years. The tumors are slow-growing and usually originate in places like the lung, thymus and stomach. Three out of four people diagnosed with a goblet cell tumor are alive five years later. Saffron Pedroche's case was particularly aggressive.

Saffron Pedroche was given two bouts of chemotherapy, the Bristol Evening Post reports, over the course of six weeks at the Bristol Royal infirmary. The treatment was unsuccessful. Also, because Saffron was so young, the cancer had not formed into a solid lump, which made surgery to remove the cancer impossible.

According to the Bristol Evening Post, Saffron Pedroche's father has applied for permission to have a memorial bench for Saffron set up on Brandon Hill, close to Bristol city center.  

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