Chicago Tribune, today:
Like most new moms, Linda Sanchez couldn’t take her eyes off her newborn daughter….
But the biggest marvel was that Isabella Marie Sanchez came into the world at all. She is the latest baby born to a breast cancer patient who was treated with chemotherapy while pregnant. It took a pioneering Houston program to make the birth possible….
Isabella became the 70th baby born under a University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center program that once was controversial, but which last year formed the basis of the first national guidelines for the treatment of pregnant women with breast cancer. Until this program, women with cancer who learned they were pregnant were told to abort.
That’s what Sanchez, 27, was told last spring after she learned in a span of a few days that she was pregnant and that she had breast cancer. She found her way to the M.D. Anderson program….
Isabella was delivered with a full head of hair, a trademark of babies born in the program and a sign the chemotherapy doesn’t have the toxic effect on them that leaves their mothers bald.
Sanchez will resume chemotherapy next week, then have surgery. She had six rounds of one therapy, then was off treatment for 71/2 weeks before Monday’s delivery. Ultrasounds showed the cancer, which has shrunk to about one-third its original size, didn’t increase during that time….
The diagnosis of cancer in pregnant women is rare, but oncologists believe the numbers are growing as more women put off childbearing until their 30s and 40s, the age when the risk starts growing. Estimates put the number of pregnancies among women with breast cancer at 1 in 3,000; among women with any form of cancer, at 1 in 1,000.
Most of the women who come to M.D. Anderson had doctors who recommended terminating their pregnancies.
Glad to see Charles Gibson and ABC News ran the story last night. Gibson added this:
“Yes, chemotherapy is toxic. But what we have found is that when given in the second or third trimesters it appears to be safe,” said Dr. Jennifer Litton, breast oncologist at the MD Anderson Cancer center.
Still gotta ask, why are 27-year-olds, and women in the 30s and 40s, getting breast cancer? That’s a topic I’d also like to see MSM cover.
[HT: reader Rosie]