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A mother of two discovered she was having twins and was suffering from leukemia after a visit to the doctor for a scan and blood tests. She had noticed that she was more tired and prone to blackouts during her current pregnancy, but more blood tests, and bone marrow biopsy confirmed a diagnosis of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Leukemia is a disorder of the blood where abnormal white blood cells grow in the bone marrow (where blood is made) and eventually replace all the healthy cells. She was treated with an anti-leukemia drug, ATRA, during the pregnancy that resulted in a remission until after delivery when she could receive chemotherapy. Prior to ATRA, a vitamin A derivative, APL was fatal. ATRA has known side effects of fever, breathing difficulties, and lowered blood pressure and it's not known to cause fetal problems. She was offered termination to allow lifesaving chemotherapy, but refused. She gave birth via caesarean section to two healthy boys at 30 weeks gestation, after requiring surgery to fix a congenital bowel disorder.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Scotland on Sunday
About: Mother survives pregnancy with leukemia
Date: 30 May 2005
Source: Scotland on Sunday
Author: Catherine Deveney
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