Amy Hansen of Fort Collins, Colorado, credits her son Gavin, now 5 months old, with saving her life. The 29-year-old was diagnosed with ovarian cancer during the early stages of her pregnancy--a disease that might have gone undetected for months or even years had it not been for her desire to be extra cautious while bearing a child. But it was her pregnancy that helped her find out about the incurable disease she was suffering from ...

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Doctors first suspected Hansen had cancer when she was rushed to the emergency room after complaining of severe abdominal pain. She'd just learned she was pregnant five days earlier. Pathology tests indicated she had ovarian cancer.

When presented with her diagnosis, Hansen turned to various oncologists to determine the proper course of action given her pregnant state. Hansen and her husband were shocked when several doctors recommended chemotherapy, worrying that the treatment might endanger the fetus. Ultimately, they decided to follow through with the treatment--even though they were terrified of the possible ramifications. Thankfully, with the help of oncologist Diana Medgysey of Front Range Cancer Specialists, Hansen's pregnancy was successful--as was her cancer treatment.

Though oncologists cannot rely on CT scans and tumor marker tests when treating cancer-stricken pregnant women, as these are considered unsafe for the unborn child, many believe chemotherapy is a safe course of treatment if performed in the second trimester. Furthermore, they believe chemo does not increase the likelihood of birth defects. Doctors, then, advise pregnant women not to jump to the conclusion that a cancer diagnosis leaves them with only two options: forgoing treatment or terminating their pregnancies. If their cancer is detected early on, it's quite possible for pregnant women to complete their treatment and still give birth to healthy and wonderful babies. After enduring a nine-week course of chemotheraphy, Hansen is now cancer free and enjoying life with her healthy baby boy. 

But it takes a strong and courageous woman to simultaneously endure two such physically taxing experiences. In Hansen's case, she found strength in her desire to be a mother. Feeling blessed and thankful, she's now sharing her story in hopes that other pregnant women diagnosed with cancer will find comfort in knowing that there is, in fact, hope for them and their unborn children.

 

Image via Coloradoan.com

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About the author

Celia is the founder of the beauty and fashion blog SickaThanAverage.com, an on-air expert for Telemundo and Univision, and a seasoned journalist whose previous editorial posts include stints at In Style, The New York Post, VIBE and Complex. She lives in N.Y.C. with her husband, 10-year-old son, and an obscenely large collection of shoes.

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