WARWICKSHIRE, UK, November 18, 2011 ( – Thanks to her doctors’ ingenuity, a British mom facing the unfathomable choice of accepting life-saving radiation therapy or saving her baby’s life was able to do both.

Instead of facing the usual pressure to abort or allow her child to die, Sarah Best luckily found doctors both pioneering and willing to help save both her life and the life of her son.

Best was only four months pregnant when she was diagnosed with mouth cancer that required both radiation and chemotherapy, according to the Daily Mail. The drastic treatment became necessary when the cancer, much of which was removed by doctors as a tumor from her tongue, spread to her lymph nodes.


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But the paper reports that thanks to a custom-built 1.5-ton shield of lead protecting her baby bump, Best has given birth to a healthy baby son – and has been declared cancer-free herself. Best gave birth to her son Jake immediately after her treatment, starting labor only minutes after finishing her last round of chemotherapy.

The mom said the outcome was “a huge relief.” “I just feel incredibly lucky that I was able to have the treatment,” she said.

Oncologist Dr Lydia Fresco, who helped design and build the four-inch-thick shield, told the Mail that the case was “extremely rare.”

“As far as published cases go she was the only woman in the world to have this combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy while pregnant,” said Fresco. “Because her cancer was highly aggressive it would have been much more likely to recur if she had not had the treatment. Radiotherapy is most effective for preventing cancer recurring six weeks after the tumour is removed, so we had to treat Sarah when we did.

“‘The lead shields were used to prevent any radiation from reaching the foetus and all the tests on Jake indicate that he is perfectly healthy.”

Read the full Daily Mail article here.