Mum has mastectomy half an hour after giving birth

Survivor: Sarah Williams with baby Joshua after the birth, and with children Sasha and Joshua now.
Survivor: Sarah Williams with baby Joshua after the birth, and with children Sasha and Joshua now. 

A woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 20 weeks pregnant underwent a mastectomy just 30 minutes after the birth of her son.

Sarah Williams had undergone five rounds of chemotherapy during the pregnancy, then had her breast removed shortly after baby Joshua arrived by planned C-section in the same operating theatre.

The 40-year-old mother of two said she "felt blessed" following the safe arrival of her second child and surgery at Wrexham Maelor Hospital in North Wales.

"When I was told I had cancer it was an utter shock," Mrs Williams told UK's Daily Mail. "I was 20 weeks pregnant and kept thinking, 'what about the baby?' I was terrified this would mean I would lose him or her."

Doctors planned treatment for Mrs Williams which would not harm her baby.

"Although I felt in safe hands, it was the most terrifying experience of my life having chemotherapy while knowing I had this precious bundle of joy inside me," she said.

"The thought of losing the baby and not coming through this to see my little girl Sasha grow up was sickening. But I tried really hard to push those thoughts to the back of my mind and focus on the treatment." 

Baby Joshua was then born by planned C-section last October. Half an hour after her son was born, Mrs Williams underwent surgery to remove her breast, as well as 29 lymph nodes, of which 22 had contained live cancer cells.

She then underwent three more cycles of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.

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Mrs Williams was not feeling unwell in the lead-up to discovering she had cancer, and had put changes in her breast down to recent IVF treatment.

"It's strange because I wasn't ill before my diagnosis," she said. "I was hardly ever poorly. I never had any warning signs."

Thankfully the gruelling treatment regime has reduced the size of Mrs Williams' tumour. She is now preparing to run in charity fun run next month to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

"I feel so blessed now," she told the Daily Mail. "We have our beautiful little girl and precious baby. I can't believe that just months ago all this was at risk.

"I have never valued life so much."