Friday, May 11, 2012

Not Either-Or, Both Can Live

It breaks my heart that women are basically coerced into pitting their lives against their unborn children's lives. There are many articles, some so recent the abstracts (medical journal summaries) aren't available yet, that prove that cancer during pregnancy is not an either-or situation. Both mother and child CAN live with no change to prognosis in most (if not all) instances. It is a crime for doctors to ignore this information. No woman should be coerced into what amounts to an abortion for any reason. But the blow is even more harsh when the mother is also a victim of cancer! This blow Hs struck me even more harshly right now so close to Mother's Day with an information and prayer request from a FB friend.

I'm going to put some links below with brief summaries of the main points. You'll have to excuse my non-hypertext links, but I'm working with an iPad app...

*This is the best overall article I've found. It is written for the cancer patient and care-givers, not doctors and scientists.

*This article is kind of a dry medical article, but the conclusion is that even delaying treatment until delivery does not negatively affect the overall prognosis of the mother. In other words, terminating the pregnancy is NOT necessary.

*This article indicates that the worst consequence of a cancer diagnosis during pregnancy -- death of the newborn baby -- is actually usually caused by the doctors forcing delivery too soon.

*This article addresses my situation: a breast cancer diagnosis while pregnant. It blatantly says that there is no need for the life of the mother to be at odds against the life of the unborn child.

*This article addresses cervical cancer that has already invaded the peritoneal space as well as high-risk early disease. Again, conserving the pregnancy does not harm the prognosis for mother OR baby.

*This article addresses a melanoma diagnosis during pregnancy. Again conservative treatment: surgery to remove the tumor only, delivery of the baby, and chemotherapy after delivery is the treatment of choice.

*This article studied 118 women with a diagnosis of various types of cancer during pregnancy. Some miscarried, some terminated, some received treatment, others delayed treatment, but statistically, the prognosis was the same regardless of treatment.

*This article has no abstract available (it is e-Published prior to print publishing), but the title says it all: "Cancer during pregnancy can be treated successfully."

*This is an older article (1992), but it clearly shows that even then, chemotherapy during pregnancy was known to be minimally risky to the baby and the mother's life.

*This article has a large sample group and control group. Again, statistically speaking there was no benefit to terminating the pregnancy. There was also no increased rate of birth defects or even preterm deliveries to children exposed to chemotherapy in utero.

There are many many many more trifles available, but I've probably already bored you to tears. If you re interested in more articles, look at the bottom of the journal abstracts for the "Related citations" section. You can also do your own search with your own terms on the PubMed database. Whether you look at more articles or not, you now know that there is seldom (if ever) a reason to terminate a pregnancy even with a cancer diagnosis. Please keep this information in your mind and heart to pass on to someone who has this terrible "choice" on their minds. Pray for all the babies that have been (and will be) needlessly killed because doctors don't do their homework when confronted with the "rare" cancer diagnosis during pregnancy. Pray for the doctors in these situations, too. Pray that they think and research BEFORE advising a frightened cancer patient to terminate their pregnancy.

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My Chemo-Jane hair-style

My Chemo-Jane hair-style
I just had to have my mom buzz my hair because it was falling out so badly.

Pre-op wearing my hand-crocheted cap with my prayer shawl.

Pre-op wearing my hand-crocheted cap with my prayer shawl.
My loving husband is watching me distract myself with a game on his iPhone.

2 days after my BMX w/ 100ccs in the TEs

2 days after my BMX w/ 100ccs in the TEs
I even have a fashionable belt to hold up my drains.

3 weeks post-op w/ 400ccs in each TE

3 weeks post-op w/ 400ccs in each TE
The smile is fake because the TEs were irritating!