How a second opinion helped saved a pregnancy


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Leigh Ingram was told to end her pregnancy when she was diagnosed with cancer. But then her “only” option turned into many.

Leigh and Mike Ingram treasure every day with one-year-old Layne. They were close to never having her.

Ingram says, “Even though three people had told me that we should terminate, I felt like we needed to go to another institution and make sure we were really doing the right thing.” 

They went for a second opinion at UCLA and a third at UC San Diego. Doctor Parag Sanghvi and colleagues came up with a plan that let Ingram keep her baby.

Dr. Sanghvi, UC San Diego Health, Dir. Clinical Radiation Oncology, explains, “Why don’t we do some surgery up front and see what the pathology shows and then, if this is what we expect it to be, we’ll follow her closely and then plan to do any additional treatment that’s needed after she delivered her baby.” 

Ingram says, “We really didn’t think we would hear anything different, so it was just this ray of light to hear that we could keep the baby and that there was another option.” 

Doctor’s at UCLA removed Ingram’s right tumor and twelve lymph nodes. Six months later, Layne arrived.

The next day, doctors found a growth in Ingram’s other tonsil. That meant another surgery and six weeks of radiation. Now, she says life is blessedly normal. She and Dr. Sanghvi say that with cancer treatment changing so fast, a second opinion can be critical. 

Dr. Sanghvi continues, “So if there’s ever a time where you feel like yes, something’s just not right here, get that second opinion, find somebody who may be a better fit for you. And, I think Leigh’s case really illustrates that.”

Ingram adds, “I can’t tell you how close we were to not having the baby. It just…I just thank god every day for her.”

Dr. Sanghvi says Ingram also benefited from being treated at an institution that has experts from many fields.

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