LEAWOOD, Kan. — A mother in Kansas recently celebrated her son’s first birthday after obtaining a second opinion upon being advised to abort her unborn child in order to undergo treatment for breast cancer.
Stacey Johnson, a NICU nurse from Leawood, was elated when she learned in 2016 that she was pregnant with her second child. However, in the days that followed, her happiness was mingled with concern when she found a lump in her breast. She informed her obstetrician, who sent her to undergo testing.
While specialists thought that the lump was likely benign due to a lack of family history and other factors, the tests did indeed come back positive for cancer.
It was recommended at 11 weeks gestation that she have an abortion.
According to the American Cancer Society, “if a woman is found to have breast cancer early in her pregnancy and needs chemotherapy right away, she may be advised to think about ending the pregnancy.”
Johnson decided to seek a second opinion, seeing Lauren Nye, an oncologist with The University of Kansas Cancer Center, who told her that she did not need to abort her child in order to obtain cancer treatment.
“Women can safely undergo chemotherapy and surgery during the second trimester,” Nye explained in an article posted by the Center Center.
Johnson underwent a single mastectomy and chemotherapy while she was pregnant. Doctors kept a close eye on both mother and baby.
“I had ultrasounds every 10 days during chemotherapy to monitor the baby’s growth and blood flow. They tailored my treatment plan with two patients in mind: me and my baby,” Johnson recalled.
In May 2017, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy that she named William. She continued chemotherapy and underwent radiation after William was born, and was scheduled to have breast reconstruction upon completing her course of treatment. Johnson is now believed to be cancer-free.
“Everyone … is so complimentary, like, ‘How did you get through it, or how did you do it?’” Johnson told KCTV-5. “Because I had someone else’s life to care about! As moms, you do anything for your kids. Well, I’m going to do anything for him, too.”
She also credits the pregnancy with saving her life, because if she had not been with child, the cancer could have progressed into stage IV before she found it.
“I think that more awareness can be raised that breast cancer can be treated during [a woman’s] pregnancy and that a woman can focus on being a mom and still maintain her pregnancy,” Nye stated.
Psalm 127:3 teaches, “Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward.”