Michelle Velez of NBC News Discovers She Has Rare Form of Cancer Caused by a Molar Pregnancy
A news anchor Michelle Velez got candid with her social media followers after getting diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that resulted from a molar pregnancy.
In August, Michelle Velez, who works for the Las Vegas news outlet KSWU News 3, found out she was pregnant and expecting her third child. However, things took a heartbreaking and complicated turn when her first ultrasound showed zero sign of a fetus.
Velez, in an Instagram post, got candid with her followers on what went wrong with her pregnancy. She wrote,
"… Last week, I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer caused by an abnormal pregnancy."
I can't really put into words what it's like to find out you have cancer
The news reporter explained there was no fetus despite testing positive to a pregnancy test, and rather than miscarrying, her body produced invasive placenta tissue. It created a high level of pregnancy hormones (HCG), and
"Essentially, it was as if I was pregnant with five babies at once."
Although the placenta tissue can get cleared with surgery, Velez could not go under the knife as her condition already turned cancerous, with chemotherapy as the only solution. Describing how she felt upon getting diagnosed, the mom-of-two wrote,
"I can't really put into words what it's like to find out you have cancer; shocking, devastating, and terrifying for starters."
View this post on Instagram
I’m not exactly sure how to do this so I’m just going to give it to you straight. As many of you know I have been having some health issues the past few months. Honestly, we didn’t exactly know what was wrong until now. Last week, I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that was caused by an abnormal pregnancy. It’s extremely complicated so I’ll try to make it as easy to understand as possible. Before I do - I want you to know that my kind of cancer is treatable. We have every reason to believe I will recover free and clear - Just getting to that point is going to be tough. What I had was called a molar pregnancy. It’s a pregnancy that is not viable - meaning a fetus never formed -but instead of miscarrying, the pregnancy continued to grow and produced invasive placental tissue. Since the placenta is still there, the body mimics a pregnancy and spikes the pregnancy hormone (HCG) to astronomical levels. Essentially it was as if I was pregnant with 5 babies at once. It made me extremely sick and caused excessive bleeding. Normally this can be treated with a surgical procedure to clear the tissue and then we just monitor the HCG levels until they reach zero. However.. In some very rare cases that tissue can turn into cancer.. and spread to other organs in the body. That is what happened to me. No good reason, just unfortunate dumb luck. . . Again, The great news is this type of cancer is treatable and my doctors have every reason to believe I will be free and clear at the end of this. The bad news is I have to go through aggressive chemo to kill it. Yes I will probably lose my hair and experience other side effects of chemo. I have already made it through my first two treatments this week. Total number of rounds all depends on how long it takes the HCG levels to get to zero. . . I can’t really put into words what it is like to find out you have cancer.. devastating.. shocking and terrifying for starters - but there’s so much more to this I never understood. I plan to be as open and transparent about this journey as I can - because it’s the only way I know how to be. (Continued in comments)
Velez condition happens in 1 out of 1, 000 pregnancies, and it becomes cancerous in 1 out of 15, 000 cases
Despite the seemingly gloomy future, Velez assured her followers that with chemo, she'd be as good as new as soon as her HCG gets to zero. The Las Vegas resident revealed she had undergone two rounds already, and promised to carry her followers along on her journey.
In an interview with Today Health, the reporter said she had never heard of a molar pregnancy until it happened to her, and she felt overwhelmed by the news. Velez condition occurs in 1 out of 1, 000 pregnancies, and it becomes cancerous in 1 out of 15, 000 cases.
According to the National Cancer Institute, most molar pregnancies are benign, and it gets termed as a gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD). Its symptoms include abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain, or pressure in the pelvis, high blood pressure, fatigue, and an enlarged uterus.
View this post on Instagram
A little video message update. Back in the hospital.. but today was a good day. 👊🏼 #molarpregnancy #gestationaltrophoblasticdisease #gestationaltrophoblasticneoplasia #gtn #pregnancycancer #canceroftheplacenta #choriocarcinoma #cancerdiagnosis #momswithcancer #momlifeishard
In a separate post, Velez, uploaded a video while at the hospital receiving treatment, and she's keeping her spirits up, and hoping for the best.