Breast cancer patient uses new DNA test to keep baby

Imagine being diagnosed with breast cancer while you're pregnant. To fight to the cancer, the pregnancy may have to be terminated.

ALEXANDRIA, VA (WUSA9) - Imagine being diagnosed with breast cancer while you're pregnant. To fight to the cancer, the pregnancy may have to be terminated.
 
"I was petrified," said Aleseia Saunders about getting her diagnosis when she was one month into her pregnancy with Julia, now  three years old. 
 
"People hear the word 'cancer' and they instantly think death. They instantly thing 'life-stopping," said Saunders.  
Her oncologist and two other doctors told her the option to save her own life was abortion. 
 
"It specifically looks at a person's breast cancer (it's DNA or genomic signature) to find out whether they have a high or low risk of reoccurrence," said Dr. Weintritt.   
 
The test opened up a new, happy option for Aleseia. 
 
"The test came back showing that her cancer was so unlikely to ever spread, no matter how big it was, that chemotherapy would offer her no benefit," said Dr. Weintritt.  
 
Bottom line: Aleseia did not need chemotherapy. She underwent a lumpectomy in her second trimester and carried her baby to term, giving birth to a healthy baby girl. Julia is now three years old. 
 
After Alesesia gave birth, she had radiation treatment is now cancer free. But, she says she knows she will always be a "breast cancer patient" and goes in regularly for screenings.   
 
Not only is chemotherapy extremely hard on the body, its very expensive, says Dr. Weintritt. 
 
Chemotherapy treatment can cost upwards of $150,000. Mammaprint costs a fraction of that, up to  $5,000 per test. Weintritt says a sample is sent to California, and the results come back in a week.    
 
Another huge benefit to not having chemotherapy is the prospect of more children. Chemo can destroy eggs and make women infertile.  
 
Aleseia is hoping to have another child soon. 
 
Aleseia is taking part in a walk to support the National Breast Center Foundation this Saturday.  Here are the details:

National Breast Center Foundation’s Second Annual Walk to Bust Cancer

www.walktobustcancer.org

Sunday October 15, 2017

Fort Hunt Park, Alexandria VA

8am check in, 9am 1.2 mile walk

Entertainment and activities to follow

Register ahead of time: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/walk-to-bust-cancer-tickets-36496871124

Contact Martha Carucci at Martha.carucci@nationalbreastcenter.org for information or with any questions.

 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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