11 October 2017
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
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.