11 October 2017

Cervical cancer survivor gives birth to first child following new surgery

Cervical cancer survivor gives birth to first child following new surgery

A cervical cancer survivor who thought the disease may rob her of a chance to have children has given birth to her first baby after pioneering surgery at Nottingham's hospitals.

Rachel Bainbridge, 29, was diagnosed with cervical cancer last year.  She said: "It was a shock, I was 28 years old and you never think it will happen to you. You have your whole life planned out a certain way, and you're so used to being in control, so when something like this happens you just want to know what you can do to fix it."

Traditional cervical cancer surgery involves a radical hysterectomy, resulting in the removal of the womb. The new Total Laparoscopic Radical Trachelectomy surgery, performed by Mr Jafaru Abu preserves the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Rachel said: "Mr Abu was fantastic; he was very calm and realistic when he explained all our options. The whole surgery process was very smooth and everyone did absolutely everything they could for us."

Mr Abu, Consultant Gynaecological Oncology Surgeon, at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) is one of the few surgeons nationally able to perform this procedure. Through keyhole surgery Mr Abu was able to remove the cervix and surrounding tissue without damaging any reproductive organs.

Mr Abu said: "I still recall vividly when Rachel was first diagnosed with cervical cancer. I had to break the news to her, her husband and the rest of her family.

"Rachel had never had a baby, so she was obviously worried that this choice would be taken away from her by having a hysterectomy. She was offered a trachelectomy which meant removing her cervix and the pelvic lymph glands through keyhole surgery.

"She subsequently had the procedure in June 2016. Because she has had the neck of the womb removed, I also had to use the keyhole to apply a special suture around this area, so that her body is able to hold a baby during pregnancy."

Rachel and her husband Russel Bainbridge welcomed a healthy boy, William Bainbridge on October 2.

Mr Abu said "I was privileged to be present at Rachel's caesarean section delivery, at almost 38 weeks pregnant. It was performed by my obstetrician colleague, Miss Judith Moore, who has taken a special interest in helping to look after women like Rachel throughout their pregnancies.

It's brilliant that we are able to offer this procedure to young women like Rachel who are unfortunate to be diagnosed with cervical cancer at such a young age at NUH.

"I am also happy to see that her cancer has remained in remission. However she will continue to have annual smears and follow up for the foreseeable future."

On being a new mother, Rachel said: "It's very overwhelming but amazing. It's just unbelievable really because we were so unsure if this would be able to happen this way for us. We are eternally grateful to Mr Abu and really can't thank him enough. "

Total Laparoscopic Radical Trachelectomy gives women a chance to be able to conceive naturally or by IVF. Following careful monitoring they are then able to have a caesarean section delivery.

Not all young women with cervical cancer are eligible for this type of surgery however, for those that can, the overall long term survival is the same as having a radical hysterectomy. 

NHS Nottingham University Hospitals
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