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Woman diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy, waits for treatment

It’s the fastest growing cancer on the planet, affecting many young women.

Alina Pugel is one of them.

When she was six months pregnant with her son, and taking care of her little girl, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

“It was pretty devastating to be pregnant and to have that diagnosis, and you panic,” she said.

But Alina believes she was lucky.  Doctors were already monitoring her thyroid, and found the cancer during a routine check.

They told her the survival rate at five years is 97 percent.

“It’s easily treatable, but when you hear the word cancer, your world falls apart,” Pugel said.

The cancer was slow growing, so Alina and her doctors decided to put off surgery to remove the thyroid until after the pregnancy.

“I just didn’t want to do anything that would put my baby at risk,” Pugel said.

In the end, everything worked out alright.

Alina gave birth to her son, and had surgery the next month.  She is very thankful doctors were able to find her cancer.

According to the CDC thyroid cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the world.

In the last ten years, there’s been a 7 percent increase and doctors say about 80 percent of their patients are women.

Dr. Kimberly Vanderveen is an endocrine surgeon and the medical director for the Rose Thyroid and Parathyroid Center of Excellence.

She says thyroid cancer does not cause any real symptoms, so it’s important to get checked regularly.  “It’s a cancer where early detection really affects the outcome, so we really want people to know it’s out there and be proactive about getting checked,” Dr. Vanderveen said.

“Ask your doctor to check your thyroid.  Ask your doctor to check your hormone levels,” she said.

That’s something Pugel agrees with.

After early detection and surgery, she now has a small scar on her neck and takes regular medication, but life couldn’t be better.