A woman who had breast cancer treatment while she was pregnant has thanked doctors who safely delivered her “little miracle”.
Songul Yildiz, 42, was devastated to discover she was five weeks pregnant as she awaited a mastectomy. She then had six sessions of chemotherapy at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust before her daughter Bahar was born by Caesarean section in March last year.
“Holding Bahar for the first time was such a special moment,” Ms Yildiz said. “She is now 15 months old and is doing really well. I’m eternally grateful for everyone at Guy’s and St Thomas’ who made her birth possible. She’s my little miracle.”
Ms Yildiz, who used to work as an administrator for the NHS, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 having discovered a lump in her right breast. At the time she was living in Scotland, and had the mastectomy at a hospital in Aberdeen. She moved to London to be closer to her sister, and began chemotherapy in the 15th week of her pregnancy, completing the course before Bahar was delivered. She is now in remission.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ trust said it treated only two or three pregnant women for cancer a year. The drugs are given only after week 12 of pregnancy to avoid interfering with the organ development of the foetus, which occurs during the first trimester. Research has found no long-term effect on babies born to mothers who need chemotherapy.
Three weeks after her daughter’s birth, Ms Yildiz had surgery to remove the lymph nodes in her right underarm. In June last year she had radiotherapy to remove any remaining cancer cells.
Ms Yildiz, who also has a six-year-old daughter, Gunesh, said: “Being told I was pregnant while being treated for breast cancer was completely devastating. I was really frightened for myself and my baby. But the team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ was very reassuring and told me it was possible to effectively treat my cancer during my pregnancy with chemotherapy. Throughout the treatment I suffered from sickness and extreme fatigue. On a number of occasions I was so exhausted I had to be admitted to hospital.
“I couldn’t have asked for better care. I want to raise awareness so that other women in a similar situation know that they’re not alone.”
Ms Yildiz, from Finchley, will take part in an annual Cancer Survivors Day fashion show on Sunday at Guy’s Cancer Centre, in London Bridge, to thank doctors who treated her and her baby.