Mum opens up on going through chemotherapy at Edinburgh hospital while pregnant

Shannon Lamb after treatment for ovarian cancer with her son Hunter
Shannon Lamb after treatment for ovarian cancer with her son Hunter -Credit:Daily Record

A Scottish mum has opened up after she was told her cancer had returned, while she was three weeks pregnant.

Shannon Lamb, 29, spoke with the star on her love for music at a gig in London on Thursday. The mum-of-one was diagnosed with a mixed germ cell tumour in October 2020, reports the Daily Record.

It was the height of the pandemic when she had surgery to remove her tumour, which doctors said was the size of a grapefruit. Following the operation, Shannon hoped to have put cancer behind her.

READ MORE - The touching reason Edinburgh man set to take on marathon for charity close to heart

READ MORE - Mum-of-three dies in Turkey after weight loss surgery she 'so desperately wanted'

In March last year, after feeling breathless and constantly exhausted, more tests showed the disease had spread to Shannon’s right lung.

It was as Shannon struggled to come to terms with the news that the oncologist, from Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, called her with the results of a blood test which stopped her in her tracks.

Shannon, from Broughty Ferry in Angus, said: “I was three weeks pregnant. It felt like everything collapsed around me. I was happy because I was pregnant but I was also devastated. It was a time of so many mixed emotions. I desperately wanted to have this baby but felt instantly protective of it. I didn’t want to do anything that would put the health of the baby at risk.”

Shannon was 16 weeks pregnant when she underwent gruelling rounds of chemotherapy and further surgery at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

'I didn’t want my baby going through anything more'
'I didn’t want my baby going through anything more' -Credit:Daily Record

She continued: “I was terrified of harming my baby and nearly turned my back on surgery altogether due to my worries that it could put the baby at risk. Would my baby survive the surgery, get through a general anaesthetic with me? I burst into tears and I wanted to go home. I came so close to walking away from that ward but luckily the anaesthetist reassured me that it was going to be okay and I went ahead.

"Surgeons removed around a third of my lung. I woke up after the operation in excruciating pain but refused any painkiller but paracetamol. My first question was about my baby. It was a relief when the medical team did an ultrasound and I could hear my baby’s heart beating.”

But further tests showed the cancer had spread to her spine, pelvic bone, lymph node and a 5cm mass next to her right kidney. Doctors explained the cancer was now stage four. Shannon had her first chemotherapy session at 31 weeks pregnant.

Shannon said: “I had to start chemotherapy while pregnant urgently or my baby and I might have both passed away. I asked my doctors if I could have a c-section after my round of chemotherapy. I didn’t want my baby going through anything more.”

Sign up for Edinburgh Live newsletters for more headlines straight to your inbox

On November 17, 2022 at Ninewells Hospital, her son Hunter John Taylor was born, weighing 3lb 10oz. Being born prematurely meant he started off life in the neonatal unit but he was healthy. Just four days after Hunter was born, Shannon had a second round of chemotherapy and had only 30 minutes a day disconnected from the treatment to visit her son.

In April last year, she travelled to Hammersmith Hospital in London to have a stem cell transplant to help her body make new healthy blood cells after her own had been damaged by the disease.

It meant four weeks in hospital while doctors collected healthy stem cells from Shannon then she started high doses of chemotherapy followed by the stem cells being administered back in to her body through a drip. Later that summer she returned for her second transplant but was finally able to come home to Scotland on August 4 last year.

Shannon is due to travel to Charing Cross Hospital in London later this year for a procedure which it is hoped will reveal whether she is in remission. All in the meantime, she put her aspirations of becoming a singer on hold to battle the disease.

Pop star Pixie Lott with cancer survivor Shannon Lamb
Pop star Pixie Lott with cancer survivor Shannon Lamb -Credit:Daily Record

Shannon was invited as a special guest to the gig on Thursday, where Pixie Lott performed chart-topping hits including Boys and Girls, All About Tonight and gave a sneak peek of her new hits. The event took place to launch Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life.

The event is an inspiring series of 3k, 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raises millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research. Now, the charity is asking people across the UK to sign up and also to submit their favourite songs to a new Race for Life playlist called #PlaysForLife.

Shannon said: “Music was a lifeline for me during my cancer journey. It helped me find strength during the darkest of times. It’s been brilliant to meet Pixie Lott and ask her what music means to her. She’s inspired me to follow my dream to have a career as a singer.

The mum is putting the finishing touches to writing her own first song - Under Raindrops, with lyrics about finding strength during the toughest of life’s challenges. She hopes to record the song in a studio later this year.

Join Edinburgh Live's Whatsapp Community here and get the latest news sent straight to your messages.

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK’s spokeswoman in Scotland, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Shannon for her support. No matter how cancer affects us, life is worth racing for. Sadly nearly 1 in 2 of us will get cancer in our lifetime.Race for Life has the power not only to transform lives, but to save them. We’re proud that Race for Life has already helped double survival rates in the UK.

“We’d love for as many people as possible across Scotland to join us at Race for Life. There is an event for everyone and we mean everyone. Walk, jog, run or take on the course however it suits best. It’s a chance to feel the power of moving together with fellow Race for Lifers and to treasure that moment of crossing the finish line.

“Whether people are living with cancer, are taking part in honour of or in memory of a loved one with the disease, or are in it for the medals or just for the fun of fundraising, all are welcome."