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Mother sends message of hope with harrowing story of facing down breast cancer while pregnant

Lauren Cranmer describes her first thought when she found out last year that, at seven weeks pregnant, she had breast cancer.

News 12 Staff

Jan 12, 2023, 1:27 PM

Updated 527 days ago


With a new year can come new ways to think about your health, especially if you've had health scares in the past or want to prevent health issues in the future. 
News 12 recently spent time with a mother who found out she had cancer while she was pregnant and she's sharing an important message about advocating for your health even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances.

"I was worried about the baby. That was my main concern." Lauren Cranmer is describing her first thought when she found out last year that, at seven weeks pregnant, she had breast cancer. She discovered a lump six months earlier while playing with her son Colton.
The follow-up biopsy delivered the heartbreaking news. "There are so many unkowns, but I just wanted to know what actions I could take to help combat that anxiety and hopefully treat myself as well as the baby both in a manner that we could get to the other side together," says Cranmer.

"I've been practicing long enough to remember the years where they would actually consider terminating pregnancy in order to treat breast cancer, but thankfully, now we have so much research – research, not just a gut feeling, but scientific evidence that it is very safe to continue pregnancy and get treatment for most cancers," says Dr. Debra Camal, Medical Director of Breast Surgery, Riverview Medical Center.

Dr. Debra Camal is the breast surgeon who was part of the medical team that started working on saving not one - but two lives. "We don't like to do chemo in 1st trimester. So after careful collaboration we actually decided to do surgery first for Lauren's breast cancer.”
“They came with the ultrasound after the surgery…just to hear my daughter's heartbeat knowing that she was there. That was amazing," recalls Cranmer.

Once the cancer was out, the chemotherapy came next. “And it's kind of counterintuitive right? Like, chemotherapy - isn't that poisonous for a baby or for a fetus? No, they just choose the drugs properly. We monitor the baby and they're protected and so the outcomes tend to be very, very good," says Dr. Camal.

And after 12 chemo infusions, Cranmer remembers how she felt on the day of her C-section. "That's when she was done going through this with me and it was just amazing once she finally was out there out in front of my face and I could just kiss her," says Cranmer. "It came to an end at that point because I didn't have to worry about her anymore it was just me gonna go through it and she was here and she was healthy." 
Dr. Camal says chemotherapy for any cancer during pregnancy is safer for the baby if given in the second or third trimester. That's why the medical team did the mastectomy first and started chemo for Lauren in her second trimester.
Meanwhile, Lauren says she maintained a positive attitude by asking a lot of questions to ease her fears and stayed focused on the baby more than anything else.   
Avery is now 15-months old…healthy and happy with her big brother Colton. It's a survival story that gives hope to anyone facing Cranmer's predicament or any health crisis.

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