Breast cancer during pregnancy is very rare, occurring in only one in every 3,000 pregnant women. That’s why when Ottawa mother, Jillian O’Conner, felt a lump in her breast while nursing her 1-year-old son she thought it was a blocked milk duck.
Jillian was only 31-years-old and 16-weeks pregnant when she discovered the lump and decided to visit her doctor. At first she was diagnosed with stage two cancer but was upgraded to stage four when doctors found that her liver was enlarged, which meant that the cancer had metastasized.
Her doctor, Mark Clemons, shared more with the Ottawa news. He said, “‘Jillian is facing not only the challenge of going through cancer treatment while pregnant but she knows her disease is not curable and once her baby is born, we will change her treatment to give her the best chance of long and fulfilling life.” He also said that most doctors advise women with breast cancer while pregnant to abort but he believes he can help O’Conner and her baby.
“If I could find the right treatment, I could not only bring breast cancer under control and allow the baby to grow normally despite the chemotherapy and she should deliver normal baby. The hope is that we are giving her the best treatment in the world to give her the best chance of not only seeing the baby born but watching this baby grow up,” said Dr. Clemons. He added that O’Conner’s treatment couldn’t wait until after the baby was born because the cancer in her liver would kill her before she could give birth to a healthy baby.
Unfortunately, doctors have given O’Conner only two years to live but that prognosis could change after her baby is born. Jillian explained how it feels to be dealing with terminal cancer and pregnancy. She said, “It was a bit scary because you know, when you’re pregnant you don’t want to have a soda that has aspartame, you don’t eat cold cuts, you don’t have anything bad.”
Now Jillian has undergone a total mastectomy and is being treated with a type of chemotherapy that doesn’t cross the placenta. She is scheduled to be induced on February 1st. Jillian concluded, “I want to play with my kids and give them a new brother or sister and live life and be a mom. Obviously I want to be the primary caregiver of my children forever and ever and ever but I also know that there’s so many people so close by who love them.”
LifeNews has previously profiled other brave moms who rejected treatment after a cancer diagnosis so they could save their unborn children.