‘Pregnancy saved my life’: Mum's breast cancer discovered while she was expecting

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
·4-min read
A mum diagnosed with breast cancer says she would have have noticed the cyst on her breast if she hadn't been pregnant. (SWNS)
A mum diagnosed with breast cancer says she would have have noticed the cyst on her breast if she hadn't been pregnant. (SWNS)

A mum diagnosed with breast cancer believes she would never have noticed the cyst on her breast if she hadn't been pregnant at the time.

Hayley Cragg, 34, from Bridlington, Yorkshire was 18 weeks pregnant when she noticed a cancerous lump on her breast, which was removed a few weeks later.

The mum-of-three also underwent three rounds of chemotherapy while pregnant with her youngest son, Louie, who was then delivered prematurely to give both him and his mother the best chance of survival.

Thankfully he was born perfectly healthy in February this year and the operation to remove Cragg's cancer has so far proved a success.

"If I hadn’t been pregnant, I wouldn’t have realised I had cancer," she explains.

"The cyst was pregnancy related, so when I went to get it checked out, that's when they found it."

Cragg says going through chemotherapy combined with suffering from pregnancy sickness was "absolutely horrific", describing the period as "the toughest time of my life".

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Cragg underwent three rounds of chemotherapy while pregnant with son Louie. (SWNS)
Cragg underwent three rounds of chemotherapy while pregnant with son Louie. (SWNS)

She was overjoyed when she found out she was pregnant with her third child in May last year, but her joy quickly turned to devastation when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at 18 weeks.

Not only was she worried about her own life, she was also terrified for her unborn baby and how the cancer would effect him.

Referred to a breast cancer unit at Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham, Cragg went for multiple biopsies which revealed the extent of the cancer.

Worryingly, doctors informed her it was worse than they originally thought and at 23 weeks Cragg was forced to have a mastectomy – an operation to remove one of her breasts.

After the operation, she then underwent three rounds of gruelling chemotherapy whilst also battling the typical discomforts of pregnancy.

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Hayley Cragg had to undergo a mastectomy. (SWNS)
Hayley Cragg had to undergo a mastectomy. (SWNS)

Cragg, who worked as carer full-time before falling ill, explains: "When they did the operation they removed the cancer completely – but the chemo was to ensure that it didn’t come back.

"I had three rounds whilst pregnant and that combined with the morning sickness was just horrific.

"I don't know if I could have done it without my baby boy who was giving me strength every step of the way."

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Doctors delivered Louie earlier than planned, after inducing Cragg at 35 weeks, so they could administer her three more rounds of intense chemo.

Thankfully, he was born completely healthy despite the trauma his mother had been put through during her pregnancy.

Cragg then battled through the rest of her treatment which concluded in April, and, after a short burst of radiotherapy next month, she hopes to be given the all clear.

The family welcomed Louie when Cragg was 35 weeks pregnant, in February this year. (SWNS)
The family welcomed Louie when Cragg was 35 weeks pregnant, in February this year. (SWNS)

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Baby Louie is now 16 weeks old and progressing well, and Cragg can now start looking forward to the future with all three of her children.

"I still feel constantly tired and have tingling in my hands and feet from the chemo, but this should fade over time," she says.

"I have to undergo some radiotherapy in July but doctors are positive this is just a precaution to make sure they kill any remaining cancer cells in my body.

"It's crazy to think if I hadn't been pregnant I may have never noticed the cancer until it was too late," she adds.

"I guess everything happens for a reason.

"It's been a difficult journey, but I can't wait to put this chapter behind me and start enjoying life again."

Additional reporting SWNS.

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