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British woman rejects abortion, cancer treatment to protect pre-born baby

Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa

PORTISHEAD, Bristol, UK, November 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – A young U.K. mother is risking her life to save her unborn child, forgoing both an abortion and rigorous cancer treatment so that her child can live.

Heidi Loughlin learned when she was three months pregnant in September that she had inflammatory breast cancer, and doctors gave her the option to abort her child so she could commence chemotherapy, since the treatment would endanger her unborn baby.

But an abortion was no guarantee of improving her prognosis with the rare and aggressive cancer.

Loughlin and her boyfriend of seven years, Keith Smith, faced fear about the future for her baby and the child's older brothers, one-year-old Tait and two-year-old Noah, if she didn't pursue treatment.

"Keith was worried about our boys being left without their mum," said Loughlin in a Daily Mail UK report. "He worried about me, and about possibly being left with a disabled child too if I didn't make it."

"But it wasn't hard for me to make the decision," she said. "I wanted to keep the baby and start treatment, and he did too."

Loughlin won't know for certain how serious her cancer is until after she's given birth, and she'll have to deliver ten weeks before she is full-term, with a C-section set for Christmastime.

More aggressive treatment will begin once she's had her baby, and this will include radiotherapy, hormone treatment, and a mastectomy next April. In the meantime, Loughlin is taking the hormone drug Herceptin to battle her cancer, along with a milder form of chemotherapy.

Loughlin, a police officer, has also decided to raise money for Cots for Tots, a local charity that provides neonatal units for premature babies, doing so by shaving her head after she began to lose her hair with the chemo treatment.

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A friend joined her in the shave, and Loughlin has surpassed her original goal of raising 200 pounds to 9,000 (almost 14,000 U.S. dollars).

"I told Noah what I was doing and he watched the shave," Loughlin said. "He wanted to do it too but I said no. Now he can't stop rubbing my head and calls me beautiful."

Loughlin is also blogging to raise awareness so women will be better informed in what symptoms to look for, because her cancer went undetected for months, having been mistaken for mastitis while she was still nursing Tait. 

"Everyone knows about breast cancer," she said, "but I feel that women need to be made aware there are other things to check for than just lumps."

Inflammatory breast cancer has at best a five-year survival rate, but Loughlin is determined to recover so her children won't lose their mother.

"There aren't many survivors of inflammatory breast cancer, but I feel like I'm going to make a miraculous recovery," she stated. "I have age on my side and lots of support. It will be hard but I'll do it. It's not an option to not be here for my kids."

She questions, sometimes, "What if this is terminal?," and then she can't sleep, checking on her kids, thinking about having to tell them goodbye.

"But I can't think too negatively," Loughlin said. "I'm positive I'm going to get through this."

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