Nigel and Darlene together

New mom diagnosed with cancer, so rare nurses say they should google it

New mum Darlene Lynch, 32, was the best in the world after welcoming her son Cillian, but just 10 weeks later she was rushed to hospital with severe bleeding

Nigel and Darlene together

A mother fights for her life after being diagnosed with cancer caused by pregnancy

Darlene Lynch, 32, and her partner Nigel Bermingham, 34, welcomed their first child Cillian in December 2021, but had just 10 weeks to enjoy parenthood before Darlene was taken to hospital with severe bleeding.

At the hospital, Darlene was stunned to learn she’d had a molar pregnancy — a noncancerous tumor that develops in the womb as a result of a nonviable pregnancy.

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Darlene feeds Cillian during her chemotherapy


Darlene Lynch / CATERS NEWS)

Darlene is now battling a rare cancer called choriocarcinoma


Darlene Lynch / CATERS NEWS)

Doctors weren’t sure if this was formed from part of the placenta or if her newborn probably had twins that weren’t fully developed.

After initially being informed that the tumor was precancerous, social worker Darlene, who now lives in South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, found that she is actually battling a rare cancer called choriocarcinoma, which affects only one in 160,000 pregnancies.

Darlene, who is originally from Croghan, County Offaly, Ireland but moved to Australia in 2012, said: “When I was first diagnosed it was difficult but I didn’t have time to think about it.

“I went to the hospital on Monday and by Friday I had my diagnosis and on Saturday I started my treatment.

Darlene holds Cillian next to husband Nigel


Darlene Lynch / CATERS NEWS)

“When the oncologist said it was cancer we were upset, my partner was probably a lot more upset than me because I was already a bit prepared.

“I think in my head I already thought it was cancer, so I thought about what to do next.

“I was half focused while my partner was still processing it and he felt pretty helpless in it all, and when you look and it’s a loved one, you don’t know what to do.

“They’re not 100 percent sure if Cillian was a twin and slumbered and didn’t arise until after he was born, or if it was formed from part of the placenta.

“But they couldn’t do a biopsy to determine this because my body had made four antibodies, which prevented me from getting blood transfusions for surgery.

“It’s hard being a new mom and you feel like that time has dwindled a little bit, and that can be hard.

“I was planning on being part of mom groups and taking him to swimming lessons, and I can’t do that because there’s a high risk of infection.”

The new mom was faced with news that cancer had spread to her lungs when she was first diagnosed in March 2022, but through grueling chemotherapy, Darlene got the news that the tumors have now halved in size.

During her hospital visits for treatment, Darlene met nurses who were amazed at the rare cancer, and many even had to… google what it was.

She said: “When I was on the ward I spoke to the nurses and they said, ‘we’ve never heard of it, we’ve never had any cases of it, and they said, ‘had to google it’.

“So sometimes when I talk to some nurses, they wouldn’t have come across it before.

“Even some doctors would have only had a few cases before, even one doctor had only had one case with it. It’s quite rare.

“It can travel to the brain, the brain is the next place it goes, but I was lucky it hadn’t gone to the brain yet.

“And the fear was that these masses have such a tendency to bleed, that’s why I had so much bleeding and if it had gone to the brain or if there were bigger masses in the lung it would be pretty dangerous.

“The last time I was in the hospital I had some problems with my chest, they thought I had a clot in my lung.

“So I had to have a CT scan. Luckily I didn’t have a clot, but the scans showed that the tumors had halved in size.”

Due to the rarity of choriocarcinoma, Darlene has decided to: Instagram @my_choriocarcinoma_journey to raise awareness of the condition, share her story and support others.

She said: “I think at first I felt like it was a really isolating diagnosis because I couldn’t find anything about it.

“Through my Instagram page, I’ve had people contact me from all over the world who have had it before and who have undergone and undergone treatment.

“It can help someone else in any way. It’s not just there for me, it’s there to provide accurate information about choriocarcinoma and support services along with my story.

“I’ve been so lucky to have my little family and Cillian, they’re brilliant and they’ve been fantastic. I’m so lucky.”

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