Surviving Cancer During Pregnancy

Charlotte Ralph discovered that she was pregnant on the same day that she underwent biopsy for a small lump on her neck. Charlotte discovered the lump on her neck on her birthday – March 2 of this year and it was recommended that she undertake an organ scan and biopsy at Frimley Park Hospital, Surrey.

On the scheduled date of biopsy, it dawned on Charlotte to take a pregnancy test before the organ scan. Charlotte and her husband John Ralph have been trying to have another baby. The couple has a son Ben who is two years old. The result of the home pregnancy test was positive, happy news for the couple were it not for the looming threat of cancer.

The worst experience for the couple was waiting for the biopsy results. After two weeks, it was confirmed that Charlotte was suffering from Hodgkin lymphoma – an uncommon type of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system. Charlotte was also 6 weeks pregnant. The couple avoided discussing their situation with others but focused themselves on the diagnosis.

The haematologist has never seen a case of lymphoma cancer during pregnancy but she believed it is safe for Charlotte to undergo chemotherapy when she is on the third trimester of her pregnancy. Charlotte cannot tell her family that the reason why chemotherapy is being delayed is due to her pregnancy. She did not want anyone knowing about the pregnancy because the future is still uncertain.

According to the doctor, chemotherapy will result into nausea and falling hair but it seemed that pregnancy increased Charlotte’s resilience. Just before week 37 of the pregnancy, the doctors decided to induce birth because obstetric cholestasis may be harmful for the baby. On November 4, Charlotte gave birth to baby girl Kezia Hope and had the final chemotherapy treatment on November 8. The family looks forward to a bright future.

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