Woman battles breast cancer while pregnant, gives birth during NYC coronavirus outbreak

WABC logo
Friday, October 16, 2020
EMBED <>More Videos

Liz Cho has a story of resilience after a woman was diagnosed with cancer in the same week she was told she was pregnant.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A woman was diagnosed with breast cancer and told she was pregnant -- both in the same week in August 2019.

"I had suffered a miscarriage, a year prior and I was devastated with the miscarriage and so finding out I was pregnant was bittersweet because now it was complicated," Rozina Kashem said.

Kashem was fighting for her life and that of her unborn child when she was presented with a heartbreaking choice.

"I was told that I had to terminate the pregnancy. And my world just crashed when that happened, because I really wanted my baby," Kashem said.

Her search for a second opinion led her to Dr. Ruby Sharma at the Northwell Health Center for Cancer, Pregnancy and Reproduction.

RELATED: Long Island woman shares her fight against breast cancer amid pandemic

"She was seven weeks pregnant. She told me how excited she was to see a heartbeat on an ultrasound. She was beaming with happiness, but at the same time she was so scared," Dr. Sharma said. "Treating a pregnant patient with cancer is very complex, we're caring for two lives in one body."

Kashem underwent a mastectomy in October 2019, during her second trimester.

"She had a very small tumor luckily and her lymph nodes were negative. Therefore she did not need chemotherapy or radiation," Dr. Sharma said.

By spring, Kashem prepared to deliver her baby, at the same time as the coronavirus outbreak in New York City.

"When they told me that I couldn't be in the hospital, that it might be a possibility I couldn't, my world came crashing all over me because I really wanted to be there. This is my first baby," the child's father, Juan Camacho, said.

ALSO SEE: Pet pug credited with alerting sisters to breast cancers

Little Ethan Juan, a healthy baby boy, came into the world on Easter Sunday at Northwell'sLong Island Jewish Medical Center.

"After that, she decided to proceed with reproductive endocrinology options and she preserved her eggs, and she started Tamoxifen after that," Dr. Sharma said.

"I have a 17-year-old daughter and I wanted more children," Kashem said. "I just wanted to really let women know that there are options out there available. I love him. He's my baby."

TUNE IN: WABC-TV SPECIAL 'BREAST CANCER: SURVIVAL DURING A PANDEMIC' AIRS SUNDAY, OCT. 18

Channel 7 Eyewitness News will air "Breast Cancer: Survival During a Pandemic" on SUNDAY, OCT. 18 (5.30 p.m. EDT). Hosted by Eyewitness News anchor Liz Cho, the special features inspiring breast cancer survivors who share their journey of resilience as they face challenges navigating their health during the pandemic.

Seen in our show: Web sites and resources

American Cancer Society

Cancer.org

MakingStridesWalk.org/NYC

800-227-2345

American Cancer Society

MakingStridesWalk.org

For Info on walks & to donate

Northwell Health

Northwell.Edu/Find-Care/Find-A-Doctor

888-321-DOCS (3627)

Northwell Health Cancer Institute

Northwell.Edu/Cancer-Institute

855-858-8550

Northwell Health Center for Cancer, Pregnancy & Reproduction

Northwell.Edu/Cancer-Institute/Center-Cancer-Pregnancy-Reproduction

855-252-5666

Murray Hill Radiology

Radnet.com/Murray-Hill-Radiology/

212-686-4440

Mount Sinai Health System

MountSinai.org

212-241-6500

NYU Langone Perlmutter Cancer Center

NYUlangone.Org/Locations/Perlmutter-Cancer-Center

212 731-6000

NYS Affordable Health Care

NYstateofHealth.ny.gov

855-355-5777

People Living with Cancer

Patient Info., American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)

plwc.org

SHARE

ShareCancerSupport.org

844-ASK-SHARE (275-7427)

212-382-2111