A Pennsylvania teenager who was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer while seven-and-a-half months pregnant has given birth to a healthy girl.
College freshman Dana Scatton, 18, first felt symptoms of her diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma tumor a month before her diagnosis, but blamed it on her pregnancy.
“I was really overtired,” Dana told The Daily Advertiser. “But things kept getting worse. I was forgetting to swallow and my speech got weird. Then my legs started not responding to things – when I would walk, my legs would drag. That’s when I really got concerned.”
In December, Dana was rushed into emergency, where an MRI revealed she had a cancerous 2.3-centimeter brain tumor.
She then went with her mother, Lenore Scatton to discuss treatment plans with doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. While there, Dr. Jean Belasco, a pediatric oncologist, was forced to tell the family while there was medical care available to prolong Dana’s life, there was no cure.
“It was a lot to take in, but we prayed and thanked God in the office that day,” Lenore said.
As Dana was in her third trimester, doctors feared starting radiation could harm her unborn baby. If she started treatment immediately, she had an estimated nine months to live, but without it, she only had three, Daily Mail reported.
With that in mind, she decided to hold off the radiation that would prolong her life in favor of delivering a healthy baby, but the idea quickly got sidestepped on Christmas Day when her symptoms unbearable.
“I feel like God just directed the doctors to help decide what I should do,” Dana said. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start radiation without having the baby because I didn’t want it to hurt her. But I couldn’t decide what to do – it was too hard.”
Thankfully, her worsening condition didn’t harm her newborn.