China / Society

Mother delays cancer treatment to deliver baby

By Liu Wei ( Updated: 2016-08-05 15:00

Mother delays cancer treatment to deliver baby

A snapshot of the documentary of Zhang Lijun's story. [Photo from Sina Weibo]

The 26-year-old woman was five months pregnant when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but refused to give up her unborn child and insisted on delaying cancer treatment until after delivery, reported on Thursday.

Zhang Lijun in Shanghai was diagnosed to be in a late stage of cancer during a regular health check.

Her doctor advised they immediately induce labor so she could undergo treatment, but the mother-to-be hesitated and decided to give her unborn child a chance at life.

"I've lived for 26 years but my child hasn't even had the chance yet," Zhang said.

Her life got tougher after the decision. Without any treatment, Zhang's cancer grew aggressively and affected the growth of the fetus.

After 28 weeks of pregnancy, Zhang developed severe jaundice due to the tumor.

To ensure the birth of a healthy baby and allow Zhang to undergo cancer treatment as soon as possible, the hospital decided to end the pregnancy after considering the family's wishes.

The baby boy nicknamed Xiaolongbao, weighed just a bit over 1 kilogram, was delivered by C-section in last December during Zhang's 30th week of pregnancy.

The baby is safe but another war began.

Zhang was transferred from the obstetrical department to the pancreatic department right away.

An examination showed Zhang suffers from a very rare, highly aggressive cancer that's spread to her whole body. It is inoperable.

"Agony is a process. I spend every day as my last day," Zhang said. She and her husband had to face the truth of her prognosis and she's receiving palliative care.

Zhang said her wish is to one day hear her child call her "mama". She keeps fighting the disease and is recording all the things she wants to say to her child.

She recorded 18 birthday wish video clips for her baby, one for every year until the baby turns 18, and hopes her child grows strong in difficult situations.

At the same time, Zhang was losing her hair, starting to wear wigs, vomiting, and having signs of cancer shown up on her skin.

Zhang keeps fighting against the illness. A documentary about her experience is about to be broadcast on Shanghai news channel on Saturday. 


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