Posted on Friday 22 June 2018
Songul in hospital with baby daughter Bahar
A woman who found out she was pregnant while receiving cancer treatment will join a fashion show to thank medics after her baby was delivered safely.
Songul Yildiz, 42, from Finchley in north London, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 after discovering a lump in her right breast.
But just days before she was due to have a mastectomy in Scotland where she lived at the time, Songul was shocked to discover that she was five weeks pregnant.
She moved to London to be closer to her sister and was referred to Guy’s and St Thomas’. As part of her treatment Songul, who used to work as an administrator for the NHS, had six sessions of chemotherapy which she started in the 15th week of her pregnancy.
Songul, who also has a six-year-old daughter, said: “Being told I was pregnant while being treated for breast cancer was completely devastating. I was really frightened for myself and my baby. But the team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ was very reassuring and told me it was possible to effectively treat my cancer during my pregnancy with chemotherapy.
“Throughout the treatment I suffered from sickness and extreme fatigue. Some days I found it impossible to walk around and on a number of occasions I was so exhausted I had to be admitted to hospital. It was really overwhelming. But the care I received at Guy’s and St Thomas’ was amazing. I was able to have complementary therapies alongside my medical treatment, such as regular massages, which really helped me to cope.
“The maternity team were very attentive and kept a very close eye on me and the baby. I couldn’t have asked for better care.”
Songul’s daughter Bahar was delivered safely via a caesarean section at 38 weeks in March 2017. Three weeks after her daughter’s birth Songul had surgery to remove the lymph nodes in her right underarm. In June last year, two months after her surgery, she had radiotherapy to remove any remaining cancer cells and she is now in remission.
Songul said: “Holding Bahar for the first time was such a special moment. She developed meningitis soon after her birth so she had to spend some time in the neonatal intensive care unit but she thankfully made a full recovery. She is now 15 months old and is doing really well. I’m eternally grateful for everyone at Guy’s and St Thomas’ who made her birth possible. She’s my little miracle.”
Songul will be taking part in a special fashion show held as part of the Trust’s Cancer Survivors’ Day celebrations on Sunday 24 June. Now in its fourth year, the annual event celebrates those who have survived cancer and the teams at Guy’s and St Thomas’ who have treated them.
Songul said: “Joining the Cancer Survivors’ Day catwalk is my way of saying thanks to the teams at Guy’s and St Thomas’ who treated me and my daughter. I also want to raise awareness of what I want through so that other women in a similar situation know that they’re not alone. I would never normally do something like this but I wanted to show that cancer doesn’t have to hold you back.”
Dr Anne Rigg, Clinical Director for Oncology at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Songul is in remission and her daughter is healthy and doing well. Breast cancer in pregnancy is thankfully very rare. The treatment we provide is dependent on the stage of the pregnancy and the type of cancer, but it’s definitely possible to have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby while undergoing treatment.
“The cancer team worked very closely with the Trust’s maternity team to ensure that Songul and her baby received the best care possible.”
Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women. It it is more likely to occur in women aged over 50. More than 70% of women with breast cancer survive after treatment.
As well as a fashion show, live music, seminars and exhibits, Cancer Survivors’ Day, which is supported by the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, also includes a Celebration Walk to raise money for the Cancer Centre at Guy’s.