How young mum's unborn baby 'saved her life'

·4-min read

A mum-to-be's life was saved by her unborn baby after doctors discovered her hidden cancer.

Jade Palmer, 27, was pregnant when she started suffering painful migraines.

She raised with her doctors on her pre-natal checks, but they couldn't find anything wrong. They agreed to induce her baby at 38 weeks.

An MRI scan then picked up a lump on her salivary gland. Initially it was thought to be benign, but later turned out to be a rare cancer.

"If we hadn’t decided to have a child at that time in our lives, the cancer could have been found too late and it would be a completely different story,” Ms Palmer said.

“In my eyes, being pregnant with my son saved my life.”

Cardiff woman Jade Palmer was pregnant when she started to suffer migraines. An MRI revealed she had a rare cancer.
Jade Palmer, 27, was pregnant when she started to suffer painful migraines. Source: Australscope/Wales News Service

The 27-year-old was diagnosed with salivary gland cancer. Cancer Research UK says just 720 people a year are diagnosed with it in Britain.

She was told her survival rate was 90 per cent because it was caught in the nick of time.

Ms Palmer is recovering well after a major operation and her son, Salvador, is now a happy and healthy six-month-old.

"It was the hardest experience of my life,” she said.

“I wear my scar with pride every day and I want it to be a reminder to people that cancer can happen to anyone at any time."

‘I knew deep down... it was cancer’

Ms Palmer, a second-year psychology student, started suffering the migraines at 21 weeks pregnant.

She underwent the MRI at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and later gave birth to her son at 38 weeks’ pregnant.

“I didn’t know they had picked something up on the MRI,” she said.

"I was in the hospital for about a week because they said they wanted to keep an eye on me, but all of the tests came back fine and I was allowed to go home with medication.

“My pregnancy was consultant-led from then on because of the migraines and at my 36-week appointment it was agreed I could be induced at 38-weeks because the headaches were so bad.

“The doctor then went on to say that after giving birth I would get a letter explaining something neurological had been found during my MRI. I was taken aback by it, I didn’t know what she meant."

Jade Palmer pictured here with her six-month-old son, Salvador.
The 27-year-old believes her six-month-old son saved her life. Source: Australscope/Wales News Service

Ms Palmer, who is also mum to son Theodore, 3, got a letter four days after giving birth saying she had a lump and needed a biopsy.

“I was told I’d get a letter with my results in five to six weeks, but exactly seven days later I had a call to say I had to go in the following week,” she said.

"It was at this point I knew something was wrong and I knew deep down they were going to tell me it was cancer.

“When they first told me, I was numb – I don’t think I expressed any emotion.

“I went into complete shock and I hadn’t even heard of salivary gland cancer before.

“It wasn’t until I looked over to my mum and watched her breakdown that I started to cry."

Ms Palmer, from Cardiff, had a six-hour operation to remove the lump and now has a six-inch scar from her ear to her neck after being nursed back to health by partner Curtis Seale.

In April, she had follow-up tests that showed the cancer hadn’t spread or returned.

“The migraines weren’t related to the cancer – it was a sheer coincidence that I had to have the MRI scan,” the mum said.

"I keep thinking to myself that being pregnant and having the migraines saved my life.”

– Australscope

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