Although doctors sometimes suggest an abortion when a woman battling cancer is pregnant, Adele Rivas and her husband decided not to have an abortion and to carry the pregnancy to term to give birth to their healthy baby. Studies show women don’t need to have an abortion and can safely seek chemo treatment during pregnancy.
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.
Now, here is a case of a brave mother who decided to have her baby while dealing with stage two breast cancer:
At age 34 Adele Rivas thought she was too young to have breast cancer, even though her mother had been diagnosed with the disease in her 40s. But a persistent lump in her breast led Rivas to get a biopsy test. Her mother tagged along for moral support.
“My mother said, ‘I have to come with you,’” Rivas remembers. “She came, thank goodness.”
With her mother by her side, Rivas was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. When Rivas asked to take a pregnancy test, she thought she was just delaying dealing with her cancer diagnosis.
“A voice told me ‘You’re really in denial,” about cancer, Rivas recalled thinking at the time.
When a nurse came back after the test, she told Rivas it was likely positive but it was so early to be sure. They would have to wait another 48 hours for doctors to be completely sure.
“I left that day not knowing if I was pregnant but knowing I have breast cancer,” said Rivas.
After talking to her doctors about options Rivas decided to keep the pregnancy, but go through a grueling treatment schedule that included a mastectomy in her first trimester and chemotherapy in her second and third trimesters.
Rivas’ doctors warned her that prolonged time in surgery could lead to miscarriage so Rivas was unable to have breast reconstruction at the same time as her mastectomy.
“I’m flat with no nipples and no breasts, but that was worth it to me,” said Rivas.
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After getting through all her cancer treatments, Rivas remained worried about her son. She was afraid he could be at risk for being underweight or premature.
But on March 10, about two months after stopping cancer treatment, Rivas gave birth to a healthy boy. Rather than being underweight, Rivas’ son, named Conatantino or “Tino,” weighed in over 8 pounds.
“He’s a happy, happy soul,” said Rivas. “The only time he gets upset is when he’s hungry. He’s growing like crazy. He’s a big boy, he’s in the 95th percentile for height and weight.”
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.”
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.