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Local woman battles breast cancer during pregnancy

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Posted at 6:00 AM, Oct 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-21 17:20:09-04

BALTIMORE — Getting pregnant was a dream come true for Melanie Vohs. She and her husband Ron have been trying for years.

Then last year, after one round of IVF her dream became a reality. But 31 weeks into her pregnancy, that dream became a nightmare.

"I was getting ready to get into the shower and felt a lump as I was undressing," Vohs said.

Little Morgan was still in her mother’s womb when Vohs learned she was also carrying a stage three triple negative cancerous tumor in her breast.

"I didn't know how the chemo would affect her because I didn't want to do it if she was going to have any kind of reaction to it," she explained.

"Her tumor was fairly big and the lymph nodes were involved."

Dr. Shweta Kurian, Vohs' Medical Oncologist at MedStar Health says her cancer was one of the most aggressive forms and required treatment with chemotherapy as soon as possible.

"Pregnant women or non-pregnant women in terms of survival there is no difference if they get the treatment at the right time and that's why we don't delay treating even when you're pregnant," Dr. Kurian said. "After 12 weeks, once all the organs have developed completely, the risk of having any organ damage from the chemotherapy is very minimal."

"They went ahead and did the chemo and four weeks later they sent me into the hospital to be induced. I was induced at 38 weeks and she is a healthy beautiful baby girl," Vohs said.

And she's also a happy 8 month old.

"I can't believe that she went through all of that with me and I don't know what I would do without her. She's been keeping me distracted from everything that's going on," Vohs said.

And Morgan still has work to do, because her mother's battle with cancer isn't over.

"I want to be here to help raise her and take care of her," Vohs said.

Melanie won't know for a couple of months whether or not she's cancer free, but she says it's been a long journey so far and she'll continue to hold her head up high.

"I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, so hopefully I'll come out on the other end," Vohs said.