Carly got the all clear and had children before it was too late
Being diagnosed with breast cancer at an early age can leave a lot of young women not only having to come to terms with having the disease but also worrying about whether or not they will be able to have children in the future. Aged only 29 Carly Gibson, who lives near Bristol, found a small lump, and was diagnosed with ER+, HER2+ breast cancer.
“My world was absolutely ripped apart. I was nearly 30 and I had cancer – everything was awful. I dealt with having cancer because the fear of not having any children was much worse. That seemed more hopeless than the cancer coming back.”
Carly’s doctors recommended leaving five years after being treated for breast cancer before getting pregnant to make sure it had been successful. For Carly this would mean waiting until her late 30s to have children. Doctors also recommended chemotherapy – which can affect fertility.
After discussion with her family and her doctors, Carly decided not to have chemotherapy but agreed to have extra radiotherapy. Carly met Chris Gibson in May 2005. The couple were married in October 2007 and, before their honeymoon, Carly saw her oncologist, as she wanted to start a family.
Doctors were unsure how Carly’s body would react to having a baby and were seriously concerned the cancer could come back. But Carly weighed up the risks and by the time she and Chris returned from their honeymoon, she was pregnant. Carly nervously agreed to have a mammogram soon after she gave birth to her daughter, Lydia. Thankfully, she was clear – the cancer hadn’t come back.
She said: “I thought I might not get to see Lydia grow up, so she would need someone else.” Just 12 months after Lydia was born, Carly gave birth to Rowan.
Carly is now 37 and has received the all clear. But after all the hormone treatment, her body has entered the early stages of the menopause. If she’d waited until now to have the children, it would have been too late.
“I know I’m the luckiest woman in the world,” says Carly, “But I’ve been through so much and I know how important it is that more research is done for young women like me. I don’t want my daughter Lydia to ever have to worry about not being able to have children or about getting to see her children grow up.”