A breast cancer patient who chose to put the health of her fetus before her own has given birth to a healthy girl, her doctor said yesterday.
The 35-year-old woman has been breast-feeding the infant since her delivery a month ago, said Hsieh Chang-hsing (謝昌興), director of Cheng Ching General Hospital’s Reproductive Medicine Center in Greater Taichung.
The woman was surprised in the fall last year when she was found out she was 11 weeks pregnant in the second year of a five-year hormone treatment for breast cancer, the doctor said.
She had been diagnosed with stage three cancer in her right breast and had undergone surgery and chemotherapy, which usually causes women to stop menstruating and reduces the likelihood of getting pregnant.
Under normal circumstances, a doctor’s advice would be to continue with the hormone therapy, which could adversely affect the fetus, and terminate the pregnancy, Hsieh said.
Hsieh said the patient, who did not have any children yet, was torn between the two options, and the doctor advised her to take an anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) test first to assess her ovarian reserve or egg supply.
The woman had an AMH level of 0.34, compared with the normal index of 2 to 6 for women of her age, which meant she would soon stop menstruating and would not be able to get pregnant, Hsieh said.
The woman decided to keep the baby and dedicate the rest of her life to her child, Hsieh said, quoting her patient, who cannot be named to protect her privacy.
Hsieh said statistics have shown that post-cancer patients who give birth tend to have a more positive attitude toward life and live longer than patients who do not have children.
The woman became more positive when she decided to grab her one and only chance and embrace a new life, he said.
The doctor said tests have shown that the mother’s condition remained stable during her pregnancy, and she is now considering whether to resume hormone treatments once she stops breast-feeding her child.