According to a story from the National Post, 34-year-old mother Andrea Cardin, a photographer, was excited to welcome her newborn son James into the world on November 21st of this year. However, just twelve days later, she would begin treatment for her newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia. Routine bloodwork related to her pregnancy revealed that she had low iron levels in late September, which ended up being an indicator of what was to come.
About Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Acute myeloid leukemia, also known as acute myelogenous leukemia, is a type of blood cancer which affects myeloblasts, stem cells that would normally develop into myeloid white blood cells. There are a number of risk factors for acute myeloid leukemia, including other blood disorders such as myelodysplastic syndrome, family history, certain genetic variants, chemical exposure (including chemotherapy agents), and radiation. Symptoms include an increased risk of infection, easy bruising and bleeding, fatigue, shortness of breath, fever, weight and appetite loss, anemia, and bone/joint pain. Treatment for this cancer is most often chemotherapy or stem cell transplant; there are very limited options for patients with relapsed disease. The five year survival rate for acute myeloid leukemia is only 27 percent in the US. There is a clear need for more effective treatments for this cancer. To learn more about acute myeloid leukemia, click here.
Cancer and Pregnancy
Cancer during pregnancy is quite rare, and making a diagnosis can be challenging, especially since some symptoms, like fatigue, are commonly present already. It was November 12th when Andrea’s blood work revealed that she had myelodysplastic syndrome, which soon evolved into acute myeloid leukemia. Treating cancer during a pregnancy can also be difficult; Andrea’s doctors let her carry the child as long as possible, but her pregnancy was ultimately induced so that she could begin treatment.
Andrea’s work as a photographer normally keeps her busy; she works for Freestyle Photography, which does work for many sports teams in Ottawa and the surrounding area. Her first round of chemo will take six months, and her cousins have helped out by launching a Go Fund Me page since she will be unable to work during her treatment.
If you would like to support Andrea and her family, click here.