Cervical cancer survivor: How a trachelectomy saved my unborn child

My son Gavin recently turned 13. My husband and I call him our miracle baby, but I don’t think he fully understands why. When he was little, we just told him I was sick while I was pregnant with him. The truth is a bit more complicated. I was diagnosed with stage IB1 cervical cancer at age 32, after a routine Pap test. At the time, I was nine weeks pregnant. But thanks to MD Anderson, my son is alive and well — and so am I. A cervical cancer diagnosis during pregnancy I’d always been faithful about getting my regular Pap tests. But when I conceived in the fall of 2003, my new obstetrician insisted I get another one, since he hadn’t seen me before. To everyone’s surprise, the results were abnormal. The obstetrician referred me to MD Anderson, where Michael Bevers, M.D., performed a biopsy. It showed I had adenocarcinoma — a type of cervical cancer — so we scheduled a more comprehensive test called a cone biopsy to determine whether it was aggressive or slow-growing. I awoke from the anesthesia to another shock. Dr. Bevers hasn’t performed the second biopsy. He said the cancer had grown so much since the first one that it was now visible to naked eye. I had the aggressive kind of cancer. The standard treatment at that time was a hysterectomy. New cervical cancer treatment: a risk worth taking To say I was devastated is an understatement. I’d had no symptoms of cervical cancer. My husband started researching alternatives the minute we got home. He learned about a surgical procedure called...