Jade Devis of Rancho Cucamonga, California, was only a few weeks into her pregnancy when she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer — one that, doctors initially told her, meant that her baby would die if she underwent treatment to fight it.
“I did not know how I felt about the pregnancy until I was told I should not continue my pregnancy,” Devis, 36, said in a statement on the Loma Linda University Health website. “That is when something rose up inside of me — I wanted to keep my baby because I would not allow a stranger to tell me my child’s fate.”
The single mom explained she first knew there was something amiss when she felt a hard lump in her breast in March. While a radiologist thought the mass could have been caused by the pregnancy, Devis trusted her instinct and got the lump biopsied.
That’s when doctors came back with a terrifying diagnosis: she had Stage 2 triple-negative breast cancer.
“If I had ignored it, I would have been dead,” Devis told Loma Linda University.
“[The pregnancy] was fun until the doctor just took out her chart and told me they discovered the breast cancer,” she added to KTLA. “The doctor’s words were my baby was too young to save and that it was life or death for me.”
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, triple-negative breast cancer means that the tumor lacks three receptors that fuel tumor growth, such as estrogen, progesterone, and the HER-2/neu gene.
Because these three receptors are not present, therapies that rely on targeting them in the hopes of controlling the cancer won’t work. This makes triple-negative breast cancer more aggressive than other forms of the disease since it is more difficult to treat.
Chemotherapy, though, remains a viable option in this scenario, the foundation says.
“His heart was beating. I could feel him inside. He was fighting, so I had to fight, too,” she added.
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After undergoing multiple rounds of infusion therapy, Devis gave birth to her son — Bradley — in July 2019. Her latest scan showed no signs that the cancer had metastasized.
“Loma Linda University Cancer Center team gave me more than my son,” Devis said. “They picked up my spirit and rejuvenated my soul.”
“My baby boy is my miracle child,” she continued. “It is surreal to remember that my pregnancy had an element of extraordinary fear. I am blessed when I look at my son, and I cannot ask for more than that.”