A young mom is fighting for her life after being diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer caused by pregnancy.
Darlene Lynch, 32, welcomed her first child, Cillian, last December before she was rushed to hospital 10 weeks later with severe hemorrhaging.
Doctors subsequently diagnosed Lynch with choriocarcinoma: a cancerous fast-growing tumor that develops from cells that help an embryo attach to the uterus.
Almost all choriocarcinomas — sometimes referred to as “pregnancy cancer” — form in the uterus after the fertilization of an egg by a sperm, but the cancer is so rare that it only affects one in 160,000 pregnancies and is scarcely talked about.
“I felt it was a really isolating diagnosis because I couldn’t find anything about it,” Lynch told Caters News Agency on Friday. “When I was in the ward, I’d speak to the nurses and they were like, ‘We’ve not heard of it before, we’ve not had cases of it before,’ and they’d say, ‘We had to google it.’ “
The cancer was so fast-growing that it had already spread to Lynch’s lungs by the time she was diagnosed, meaning she was forced to immediately undergo chemotherapy.
Lynch — who resides in Melbourne, Australia — stated: “I didn’t have time to think about it. I went into hospital on the Monday and by the Friday I had my diagnosis and on the Saturday I started my treatment.”
However, Lynch’s partner, Nigel Bermingham, 34, was left shaken by the shocking cancer news and the daunting prospect that the new mom wouldn’t be around to raise their son.
“He felt quite helpless in it all, and when you’re looking on and it is a loved one you don’t know what to do,” Lynch said, struggling to hold back tears.
However, after almost two months of grueling chemotherapy, Lynch recently received news that the tumors have now halved in size.
Furthermore, the cancer did not spread beyond the lungs, giving doctors hope that the mom will beat the disease.
“It can travel to the brain, the brain is the next place it goes, but I was quite lucky it hadn’t gone there yet,” the Melbourne mom declared.
However, Lynch says the diagnosis has robbed her of precious time with her newborn, explaining: “It is difficult to be a new mom and like that time has been taken away a little bit.”
She added: “I had intentions of being a part of mothers groups, and taking him to swimming lessons, and I can’t do that because there’s a high risk of infection.”
However, despite the isolation she felt after being diagnosed with the disease, Lynch has now found an online community of choriocarcinoma survivors.
She started the Instagram page @my_choriocarcinoma_journey to raise awareness of the condition, sharing her story and providing support to others.
“I’ve had people from all around the world reach out to me who have had it before and who have gone through and are going through treatment,” the mom stated. “It can help someone else in any kind of way, it’s not just there for me, it’s there to provide accurate information about choriocarcinoma and support services along with my story.”
Meanwhile, Lynch is determined to continue fighting for her partner and her baby son, saying they have filled her with hope for the future.
“I’ve been so lucky that I have my little family and Cillian, they’re brilliant and they’ve been fantastic,” she cooed. “I’m so lucky.”