Brazilian mother forgoes cancer treatment to save her baby

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Simone Calixto, a Brazilian mother living in Ontario, refused to follow the suggestion of her doctors and undergo an abortion after she was diagnosed with breast cancer during her pregnancy. 

After opting for the life of her unborn child, she traveled to Brazil where she finished her treatment and gave birth to her daughter.

Canadian doctors told 39-year-old Calixto, who is herself a doctor, that she needed to undergo an abortion because the increased hormones from her pregnancy were causing the tumor in her breast to grow. They also told her that her cancer treatments would harm the baby.

Calixto recalled that doctors said they could not offer her treatment unless she underwent an abortion.  “I realized that if this was how they acted in this important facility, no other hospital would be any different,” she said.

Pressured by the urgency to make decision, Calixto felt “like I was going to die, my soul was dying.”

Faced with this situation, Simone Calixto, decided to undergo an ultrasound. “In ten seconds I began to hear her little heart. I felt that she was alive.”

She recalled watching a Brazilian television program on a case similar to her own in which the baby was born healthy. She contacted the doctor mentioned in the program, Waldemir Rezende, and traveled to Brazil to meet with him.

At thirty-six weeks, Calixto was forced to undergo a caesarian and give birth to her daughter, as the tumor in her breast continued to grow.

Little Melissa was born health, without only a slight respiratory problem. Calixto later had the tumor removed from her breast.

“The most difficult part is over. Melissa is a miracle, a promise that came true,” Calixto said.

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