LifeNews has often covered cases of moms who received a breast cancer diagnosis while pregnant and we’ve reported how many mothers bravely refused a suggestion from doctors to have an abortion in order to protect their own life or health.
Sarah Pierce was 16 weeks pregnant when doctors broke the terrible news that she had breast cancer. She underwent chemo, radiotherapy and a mastectomy before the birth and worried the entire time about the impact the treatment would have on her babies.
Experts say they have never known of a mother having chemotherapy while pregnant with twins before. Not only that, but she also had radiotherapy and a mastectomy. Miss Pierce, 40, a cashier, had been desperate for a family with her partner Adam Sparkey, 27, an assistant retail manager, and the couple had saved up £4,200 for IVF treatment.
She said: ‘I’d had an ectopic pregnancy ten years previously and doctors had to remove my fallopian tubes, so IVF was my only chance of becoming pregnant.’
Two weeks after the treatment, she discovered she was pregnant and a fortnight later a scan showed there were two heartbeats.
She said: ‘We were absolutely thrilled.’ But at 16 weeks pregnant she discovered a lump in her breast while in the shower, and a week later doctors delivered the devastating news that it was breast cancer.
Miss Pierce said: ‘It was devastating. I couldn’t stop crying. ‘I was so worried about the babies. The doctors told me I had to have a mastectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy – all while I was still pregnant.
‘All I could think of was how could they possibly survive through all that.’ Miss Pierce had a mastectomy the following week, when she was 18 weeks pregnant.
Two weeks later she started chemotherapy, losing all her hair – causing her to wear a wig – and suffering from exhaustion.
‘Luckily tests on my lymph nodes showed the cancer hadn’t spread, which was such a relief,’ she said.
‘I was so worried about the chemotherapy damaging the babies, but scans every week showed they had kept on growing. Each week it was such a relief to still see them there.’
LifeNews, in April 2012, covered a collection of stories from The Lancet, a prominent British medical journal, showing pregnant women don’t need to have an abortion in order to get treatment for cancer. The information shows chemo treatment does not harm the unborn baby and mothers can treat themselves for cancer without worrying about effects on the unborn child.
In 2009, LifeNews.com reported on a new study showing doctors don’t need to suggest an abortion to pregnant women who want cancer treatment. The study involved a concept called pregnancy associated breast cancer — breast cancer that is diagnosed when a woman is pregnant or within a year after delivery.
The mainstream media highlighted the study as if it showed a new concept, somehow finally dismissing the notion that pregnant women undergoing breast cancer treatment should have an abortion. But Dr. Joel Brind, a Baruch College professor says studies have shown that for decades.
“Actually, this finding has been reported many times in the last 15 years,” Brind explained.
“Unfortunately, many doctors still recommend abortion for women diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant, so that they can treat the cancer more aggressively. This is despite worldwide research going back as far as the 1930’s that shows that so-called ‘therapeutic abortion’ substantially shortens lifespan, whereas carrying the pregnancy to term makes long-term cure more likely,” he said.
Brind says that a 1976 review of all studies published to that point, conducted by French doctor P. Juret, reported that, “The futility of therapeutic abortion is now certain.”
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Although the study isn’t the revelation the mainstream media claimed, Brind says it is quite useful.
“What the new story out of MD Anderson shows is that women in this particular situation — which are only about 3% of all breast cancers — have no worse a prognosis than women with the same stage of breast cancer who are not pregnant,” he said.
“But what is most important about the current report is the absence of any data about abortion, i.e., a difference in prognosis as a function of whether or not the pregnant patient aborts the baby,” he explained. “To their credit, doctors at MD Anderson have, for at least the last several years, been very good at treating both patients: Mom and her unborn child.”
“Hopefully, the current report will be yet another nail in the coffin of ‘therapeutic abortion,’” he told LifeNews.com.