Cancer and Pregnancy

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Cancer and Pregnancy

Pregnancy and cancer, one the giver of life, while the other may rob a person of all health and wellbeing. Mix the two and you come up with a mother’s worst nightmare. You will be happy to know that the occurrence of cancerous tumor during pregnancy is rare, but it is by no means impossible. Studies show that 1 in every 1000 women may be diagnosed with breast cancer or other cancer.

What is horrifying though is that this number seems to be increasing. More and more women are being diagnosed with cancer while they are pregnant. Is it because a woman is the fertile ground for not just babies during pregnancy but tumors too? The answer is no. this is a common misconception in most cases.

Research has clearly depicted that most breast cancers that are developed during pregnancy are hormone-receptor negative. This means that they have nothing to do with the presence of high progesterone and estrogen levels in the body.

So what is the reason for this rise of cancer among pregnant women? Delaying childbirth. Studies clearly indicate that older women are more susceptible to various kinds of cancers including but not limited to breast cancer, cervical cancer, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and ovarian cancer. This means that if a woman decides to have a baby in their 30’s or 40’s, then they may get the diagnosis of cancer and pregnancy at the same time.

So it is clear that cancer is a possibility during pregnancy.  Cancer can very well be treated by your medical doctor when women are expecting without any harm to the baby. The pregnancy can continue on and the baby can be delivered safe and sound because most cancers have no effect whatsoever on the baby.

Dealing with Cancer

What happens when cancer occurs during pregnancy? After all the preliminaries are out of the way, this includes diagnosis and discussion on what kind of treatment will be started, you get into the routine of not only dealing with the necessities of pregnancy but also cancer. This includes visits to the doctor, keeping a check on what you eat, how you fit in exercise and all the medicines that should be taken regularly. Just remember, you can do it, you simply need to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. Here is how you can manage pregnancy and cancer together.

Acceptance NOT Resignation

The very first thing that you need to do is allow yourself some panic and distress. Once that phase is over, let the despair leave. Come to terms with what that you may have a disease but it is not the end of who you are. Cancer can be managed during pregnancy, you just have to stay strong and fight.

Ask your doctor what they think needs to be done. When women are afflicted with cancer during pregnancy, doctors tend to move extremely fast with their diagnosis, treatment and after-care. They understand that your life is at risk and while the little one is not much at harm, you would need all your strength to bring them to the world. You will be referred to an oncologist, and a team of cancer specialist. This would also include a psychiatrist or psychologist who would help you with stress management and aid you with decision making.

Let Help Pour In

Most women are independent. They like doing things on their own, without taking much help from anyone, even their spouse or kids. This is something you need to push aside. There is no harm in acknowledging the fact that you are unwell and anyone who can help you is a God send.

From the preparation of meals, to cleaning up duties, babysitting tasks to arranging outings for you, let people around you take care of you and shower their love. Friends and family are concerned and they want to help with anything they can, so let them. Don’t shut out your loved ones because you are too upset or because you think showing weakness means you aren’t strong. Their love is going to get rid of cancer in a more effective manner.

Even when the baby is born and you are going through some procedure for cancer, let your partner, friends and family take baby duties. They can wash, clean and even feed the baby while you catch up on some rest, sleep or a little ‘me’ time.

Pay Attention to Your Body and Diet

This is important. Cancer and its treatment is going to rob you of good health. The only way to make sure your body stays healthy and gets all the right nutrition that not only you but the baby needs as well, as by eating properly. From fruits to vegetables, nuts, dairy products to meats, consume everything. Your cancer team at the hospital would be able to come up with a food chart that helps you in regaining strength once treatments have started.

Do not forget the multivitamins either. The OB treating you will be able to tell you which pregnancy vitamins you need while you battle with cancer too. So ask them specifically if they don’t inform you themselves.

Keep Yourself Active

If you feel horrible physically and emotionally, lying down on the best and giving up is just not the solution. In order to keep your strength up, you will need to remain active. Consult with your doctor first and then incorporate easy to do exercise routines in your daily life.  You can walk, dance, swim or even do simple cardio to keep the baby healthy and yourself active while cancer treatment continues.

Remind yourself again and again that the workout is not only a requirement for you, but will aid the baby in being delivered as well.

Find a Mentor

This is something that will become your savior, getting in touch with a mentor. Anyone can be a mentor, but a cancer survivor will be able to help you best. Not only are they the greatest motivators, they also tell you about small tricks that get you through one single day at a time. Ask your oncologist psych help to connect you with someone. If they don’t know an individual, they will be able to guide you to a cancer survivor group or a mommies group who have battled cancer.

Staying Positive is Key

The last but foremost thing you need to constantly remind yourself is this, you have to stay positive.  So long as your mindset is one of affirmation, you will be able to get better sooner. Your baby will be healthy, you will recover and things will settle down. So give yourself encouragement and move on with enthusiasm. You are a survivor mommy!


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