Saturday 25 November 2017

Mother makes medical history by giving birth after cancer treatment under lead shield

Sarah Best with her son Jake
Sarah Best with her son Jake

Donna Bowater

A CANCER patient is believed to have made medical history by giving birth to a healthy baby boy just hours after receiving a course of radiotherapy under the protection of a 1.5-tonne lead guard.

Sarah Best, 30, underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy to treat mouth cancer, which was diagnosed when she was four months pregnant with her first child. The mother-to-be was told the cancer would spread if she did not have radiotherapy.

Ms Best used two lead shields to protect baby Jake from the radio waves, which may be harmful, and unexpectedly went into labour shortly after her last course of the treatment.

The first lead guard, which was 5cm (2 ins) thick, was built to cover her bump during the 20-minute treatment sessions and was suspended above her while the second was held at her side.

Ms Best, from Leamington Spa, Warks, is thought to be the first mother to give birth to a healthy baby after having cancer treatment. Jake was born five weeks early weighing 4lb 10oz.

"I was devastated when I was told I had cancer," said Ms Best, who had an operation to remove a tumour from her tongue.

"The surgeons managed to remove most of it but they said they saw specks of cancer cells on my lymph nodes.

"I thought pregnancy was supposed to the happiest time. You're supposed to feel wonderful.

"I was really worried about the effect the radiotherapy could have on the baby but the doctors said the lead shield would protect him."

Ms Best, who has been given the all clear from cancer, described her newborn son as a "mini-miracle."

"I was expecting to have Jake at least a month after my treatment ended but I suddenly went into labour on the last day of my treatment.

"He is so special to us and thankfully is perfectly healthy. He is healthy, smiley and smart – I couldn't be luckier."

Consultant oncologist Lydia Fresco, who helped design and build the lead guard for Ms Best, said: "Sarah's case was extremely rare. As far as published cases go she was the only woman with mouth cancer in the world to have this combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy while pregnant."

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