Woman diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant believes baby saved her life

HOUSTON -- There is a reason Gianna's family calls her a miracle baby.

"I was so ready for her. I never complained about her," expressed her mother, Selvy Azer. "It's like, if I don't sleep for a day or two, it doesn't matter."

Azer always wanted to be a mother, but it didn't come easy.

So, she was thrilled when she got pregnant last year, after her third in vitro fertilization treatment.

But, in her eighth month of pregnancy, Azer got news that nobody wants to hear.

"The doctor felt the mass," explained Azer. "He felt the lump and I felt it as well."

Azer was diagnosed with breast cancer. Immediately after her diagnosis, doctors agreed they needed to start her treatment right away.

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The first step was to move up Gianna's due date by two weeks.

"It was totally the best moment of our life and I totally forgot about the cancer, the breast cancer and all that coming," said Azer. "I did enjoy it and enjoyed every moment of it."

Two weeks after giving birth, Azer started a series of 16 intense chemotherapy treatments.

"She has my admiration, always will," said Dr. Mike Ratliff, general and breast surgeon with Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital.

According to Dr. Ratliff, breast cancer isn't common in pregnant women, but can happen, especially in women with a genetic history of the disease.

Luckily for Azer, she was so close to her due date.

"A miracle like this baby being born, even in the face of real challenge, like breast cancer, it certainly blesses me," said Dr. Ratliff. "It encourages me to work harder and do better."

After chemotherapy, Azer still had to go through multiple surgeries while caring for a newborn.

"People may think it was very difficult to have cancer and have a newborn, but for me it was the other way around," explained Azer. "She kept me energetic, she kept me happy."

Now, she is cancer free.

"Anxiety and fear was there, but she helped me overcome it."
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