A new mom says that her baby saved her life after she was diagnosed with breast cancer at 31 weeks pregnant.
Claire Hilton-Ellison, 30, from Liverpool, England, says she regularly examined her breasts during her pregnancy, which led her to spot a “pea size” lump in her right breast.
She gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Jude William, on Feb. 1 and is soon due to finish her chemotherapy.
Claire said: “Being pregnant saved my life because if I wasn’t checking I would never have known and it could have been too late for me.
“It was November last year when I found a pea size lump in my right breast. It was just after my 30th birthday and I was also around 30 weeks pregnant.
“It was quite a hard lump and not really moving, so I went to the doctors to get it checked out, and then I was referred to the breast clinic where they did an ultrasound scan and biopsies.
“The results came back inconclusive so the doctors had to do more biopsies, but they had told me that they suspected it was going to be breast cancer.
“I am glad they were honest with me about this because it softened the blow when I received my actual diagnosis as I had prepared myself for the worst and accepted it.”
After further tests, Claire received confirmation of her diagnosis; stage-3 invasive breast cancer, at 31 weeks pregnant.
She says that she was terrified of her diagnosis but determined to beat her cancer for her unborn baby.
Claire said: “It was such a roller coaster of emotions. One minute I was upset and sad, the next I felt in control and determined to beat this.
“And then I would feel angry about why this was happening to me as I was soon to have my first baby.”
She added: “After receiving my treatment plan I was so scared that it would be a risk to my baby.
“But my treatment was flipped so that I had the treatment that would’ve been harmful to Jude at the end after I had given birth to him.
“So I started receiving chemotherapy through the third trimester until I had Jude, and then my chemotherapy started again three weeks after I had given birth.”
While Claire hails her pregnancy for saving her life, she also says that her baby boy has given her a new level of determination to beat her breast cancer.
She said: “Being pregnant and going through chemo was tough, but I was so determined to get through it because I need to be here for my baby that I’d not even met yet.
“And now having a newborn, the determination levels are even higher. I am one of the only people he relies on so it gives me that get up and go element.
“Having Jude here has really helped me cope with it all and distracted me from all of the side effects from chemo.”
She added: “I haven’t wanted to let my cancer ruin my time as a new mum.
“I make sure I am there for him and celebrating all of his milestones. He really is my saving grace. He puts me in a positive mindset because I need to be okay for him.
“The treatment can cause infertility and bring on early menopause. I feel so lucky that I was able to fall pregnant when I did last May, because if I can’t have any more kids then at least I have Jude and have the experience of being a mum to him.”
Claire says that she wants to emphasize the importance of checking your body no matter what age because it can save lives.
She advises women to “trust their gut and push to be seen at a breast clinic because it will save lives.”
“Time is so precious when it comes to cancer,” she said.
Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.