Knoxville — For many, learning of a pregnancy is some of the best news you can receive.
"We were very excited, we actually planned to have another child," said Shaunta Chamberlin.
This joyful season was followed by an unexpected discovery for the Chamberlin family.
"I was around 16, 18 weeks pregnant, in the course of getting ready, found a small lump," described Chamberlin.
A visit to her doctor confirmed what she feared, it was breast cancer.
"My first thought is what does this mean for my pregnancy?" said Chamberlin.
She was just 36, young, but had already been getting mammograms early due to her family history.
"I was aware that I was at higher risk, but like most women my age, living their lives, it was that thing of it's not going to happen to me so you don't necessarily think about it every day," said Chamberlin.
"Breast cancer during pregnancy is a rare occurrence, but we do see it," explained Dr. Jillian LLyod with UT Medical Center.
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With the help of Dr. Lloyd, a breast cancer surgeon, and a team of obstetricians, radiologists and oncologists, they moved forward with the right plan of action for both patients.
"The research indicates that for the majority of patients, particularly in their second trimester, chemotherapy is relatively safe for the fetus," explained Dr. Lloyd.
"We just hit it head on, regardless of the fact I was growing sweet little Max," said Chamberlin.
Baby Max was born 10 weeks early and spent 3 months in the NICU while mom underwent more surgeries and more chemotherapy.
"The beautiful thing is, babies are pretty resilient, and women, moms are also resilient, it's not a walk in the park, its not an easy balance, but we see that babies do well, moms do well, and remarkably well form a cancer perspective," said Dr. Lloyd.
Today, life is back in place for the Chamberlins and Shaunta just celebrated 2 years cancer free.
"I'm doing great, max is doing great and my family is very excited we can take a deep breath," said Chamberlin.
While Shaunta was only 36 when she discovered her cancer, doctors recommend that women begin getting mammograms at age 40.
Dr. Lloyd says if you're worried about an early diagnosis or may have family history of breast cancer to see your health care provider.
They will take you through a risk assessment and tell you how to screen based on your individual needs.
She also says its important to be self-aware of your body no matter your age.