In Melbourne, Australia, a woman diagnosed with mesothelioma has given birth to a healthy infant. Anita Steiner was very young for a mesothelioma patient. In 2008, she was only 46 years old. Most people diagnosed with mesothelioma are much older and male. The typical mesothelioma patient is a retired construction worker who was exposed to asbestos during his career. How Steiner contracted the disease is unknown, but most mesothelioma cases result from inhalation of asbestos fibers or particles.
Steiner has proven to be the exception to the rule in all areas, not just her demographic. A rarity for mesothelioma patients, she was told by her physicians in January 2008 that her cancer was in remission. Mesothelioma is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer, which takes a hard toll on one’s body.
Remission for this disease is almost unheard of since many cancer treatments have not proven promising in turning the tide for a majority of patients. In another unexpected turn of events, the 46-year-old Steiner discovered that she was pregnant. This was after an attempt at in vitro fertilization (IVF) had failed, and she had been through months of chemotherapy Alimta, which can render some women infertile for up to a year after taking it. There were no serious complications during her pregnancy, which culminated in the birth of Anita Steiner’s daughter on December 4, 2008, via a cesarean birth. As of Christmas Eve 2008, Anita and her partner, Patrick, were still deciding on a name for their miracle daughter. The drug Steiner was taking to treat her mesothelioma, Alimta, has shown to be effective for some patients in preliminary studies. If there are more instances of remission such as Steiner’s, doctors might want to seriously consider allowing more mesothelioma patients to take the new drug to treat their cancer.