kinda gross baby question

Dear Penthouse,

I never thought something like this could happen to me. You see, i just started working at the bakery down the street. One of my co-workers was this really hot little number named Staci. Well, one night she and i were working late together, baking bread. I pulled a batch of french bread out of the over, and Staci gave me this look. Then she walked over to me and said, “That’s a pretty big loaf you got there… I’ll bet that got real hot in that oven, huh?”

As she grasped my very muscular forearm, which has great definition due to my constant weightlifting, a thought popped into my head. Can a zygote become cancerous? I’m not asking if the baby can get cancer in utero. I wanna know if one of the cells in the zygote could go rogue and start doing its malignant thang, and if the cancer would develop sufficiently (basically, i don’t want to know if the cells can go haywire and turn cancerous- i want to know if a cancer that develops that way has anychance of developing). I guess to the point that the woman would know that she is ‘pregnant’, but not know that it is a baby growing in her womb.

If this does happen, how far into term would it go? I know that heavily damaged zygotes (perhaps with severe chromosomal faults) fail to respond to the hormone signals of the mother’s body, and so the body rejects the pregnancy and there is a miscarriage. Would the tumor respond to such signals? Rather, if they exist, do they in fact respond?

And if the cancer (again we’re assuming that the answer to the original question is yes) is malignant, could it metastasize to the mother? Or can the placental barrier block that kind of thing?


Kip Starce,
Milwaukee, WI

that should be “but not know that it is not a baby growing in her womb.”



I like to guess, so here is one: The way the question is stated, the answer is no. Actually, all of the answers are no. This does not mean that a baby cannot have any of several forms of cancer when born. It means that if a sperm is busy screwing around making cancer cells instead of doing what it’s supposed to do, it will end up on a bakery floor somewhere. I have never heard of an egg or a zygote being cancerous, but I am not an authority.

You mean instead of a baby could she just grow a big blob of cancer? Wow…have you recently seen The Fly or something?

I know that women get ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids all the time - it can make them gain weight in their middle and feel like something is growing in there, but I don’t think they go through all the hormonal changes of pregnancy.

I guess this is a great endorsement of listening for the baby’s heartbeat during those prenatal office visits.

jb, you are driving me crazy. I can’t make up answers as fast as you can ask questions. The answer to this one is ‘no’ also if the premise still is that one sperm got into an egg, turned it cancerous, and is …er…gestating.

no, a few people (maybe just two) have been looking at it like a rouge damaged sperm somehow found it’s way to the egg and then sharted bustin shit up left and right. any sperm damaged enough to start a cancer probably won’t even make it’s way upstream anywhere near the egg.

let’s say me and Staci’s friend Candy decided it would be hot if we made the wokka wokka in a nuclear power plant, and soon after fertilization one of the rods pulls out of the nuclear bath if you know what i mean (actually, that’s not innuendo) and little Kip Jr. or Kipette absorbs a slight enough dose of radiation to f up the zygotic nucleui (or just nucleus).

OK, that makes it easy. As soon as little Kipette fails to signal Captain Womb that all is well, she is terminated with extreme prejudice.

true, true (probably). that’s the way it should work with womb and fetus. but we ain’t talking about no ordinary fetus. this is a goddamn sneaky cancer, the has the ability to grow in many body areas and under many conditions. sure, the zygote or fetus would not survive if the inner nutrient layer of the uterus sloughed off, and the cells connecting the z/f to the wall of the womb would probably apoptose themselves out of the scene. but if a malignant cancer can grow else where in the body, doesn’t it stand to reason that it could still take up port in the holy of holies?

i just picture it being incredibly heartbreaking if it does occur. i don’t know if i’d be able to handle the situation if it was supposed to be my kid. also, i just sit and wonder about stuff a lot.

There is a particular type of aberrant pregnancy that results in a hydatidform mole, and other classifications of trophoblastic neoplasms. The following is from this site, where you can go for more detailed info

Don’t know if that is quite what you were looking for, but it is the only aberrant pergnancy of which I am aware that fits the malignancy classification.


shaky jake, you’re the best. i’ve asked this of many people, teachers, really smart doctors i’ve worked for (one of whom is an oncologist), but most people just gave me a troubled puzzled look, and shooed me out of the room.


      • But wait a minute, what if this cancerous baby-thing starts growing, and likes listening to Napster? Is that stealing, or not? - MC

jb, you should write scary movies.

yes. this one is about an african american woman whose uterus is home to a terrible grapefruit sized tumor with a penchant for eating the neighbors. i call it “the creature from the black ma’s womb”.
sorry, i couldn’t resist… may i die a thousand ‘wacky’ deaths for it.

Regardless of the fact that shaky jake uncovered information that your question really had an answer, I still believe that the response of the people you asked was the appropriate one :stuck_out_tongue:


Geez louise, you gotta get your head examined. Who the hell thinks of crazy shit like that while you’re hittin’ on a hot little number??

Jb as much as I like you (and I do), you gotta put the pipe down, man. Sitting around wondering if your girl is going to give birth to a hairy blob of cancer with teeth would give Stephen King nightmares. Dude! Put the cap back on that bottle of lysergic acid diethylamide. Don’t drink no more!

no, this question has waxed and waned in its bugging of me for many years now. in fact, i first thought about it in high school before the many drugs and endless nights of wonderful random sex started.

but your point is still well-taken.