Burkitt's Lymphoma during Pregnancy

Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Copyright © 1998, Lauri Leadley

I have wanted to share my case for 5 years now. In October 1992 Iwas diagnosed with a Burkitt's Lymphoma of the left breast. At that time I was 26 years old and 23 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child. This diagnosis was determined after a surgical lumpectomy of the left breast. Just prior to the lumpectomy a left neck mass was removed revealing abscessed lymph nodes.

My Oncologist in Mesa, Arizona initiated aggressive chemotherapy using adriamyacin, vincristine and prednisone. He waited until the 2nd treatment and then used the standard protocol of adriamycin,cytoxan, vincristine and prednisone. They watched the fetus via ultrasound for steady weight gain. I continued the chemotherapy every 3 weeks (4 rounds).

When my pregnancy had reached 34 weeks, they then did an amniocentesis. The results revealed matured lungs. The baby was delivered via C-section weighing 6 lbs 1 oz. The placenta clearly did it's job (keeping the chemotherapy away from the baby) due to the evidence thick black hair on his head and mom fighting to keep the few eyelashes and brows she had left. There were zero complications with the premature infant. Chemotherapy round 5 was instituted the second day post C-section.

A CT scan was taken 3 weeks later which was negative for lymphadenopathy. My doctor continued with rounds 6, 7, 8, and 9. I have remained disease free for almost 6 years now.

My little Connor will be celebrating his 6th Birthday on January 7, 1999. He has had zero complications. His pediatrician agrees with me 100%.

Ever since my experience with this, I have wanted to inform the field of this successful case. I recently read a journal article entitled"Burkitt Lymphoma in Pregnancy" this article showed 28 of the 29 subjects died of this disease. Their conclusion of this article was" when Burkitt's lymphoma is encountered in pregnancy, immediate cytotoxic combination chemotherapy is indicated." My goal is to spread my case to all Oncologists and Gynecologists and to offer evidence that chemotherapy in pregnancy can be successful.

There must to be more than two patients who have survived this very curable disease! We need to see more patients who have been treated during pregnancy with good results.

Hats off to my oncologist. Without his faith and knowledge and willingness to risk it Little Connor and I wouldn't be here!