Couple Star Cancer: Jen Arnold has been diagnosed with stage 3 choriocarcincoma, which was caused by a non-viable pregnancy. The cancer has now spread to her lungs doctors are struggling to know what treatment is best.
“There are moments I feel just terrible,” she recently told People magazine. “I can’t believe it is happening. Other times, I feel like this is just a bump in the road.”
The couple, both 39, have one adopted son, Will, from China, and they were in India to bring home their new daughter Zoey, 2, in October when Arnold began bleeding. Desperate to stay with her daughter but feeling increasingly faint, Arnold made the difficult decision to return home.
Once back in the U.S., she was diagnosed with stage 3 choriocarcincoma, a cancer sparked by a non-viable pregnancy she had suffered.
The star’s fertility issues have been well documented on the show, and she was shocked when she became pregnant in August – although she said she was not surprised that an ultrasound showed the baby had no heartbeat.
“I had figured it wasn’t going to be viable,” she said.
The embryo was removed, but cells were left behind and sparked the quick-growing cancer. She began intensive chemotherapy while her husband was still in India.
However, the mass in her uterus failed to respond to the chemo and grew four times its size – and then three tumors appeared in her lungs.
“Sometimes I think, ‘Seriously? Really? How can this be happening?'” Arnold said.
Doctors were forced to give her a hysterectomy – which they saw as their last resort because of Arnold’s small airway.
“We wanted to avoid surgery in her case because of her shortened airway and the difficulties she has had in the past with surgeries,” said Dr. Concepcion R. Diaz-Arrastia from Baylor College of Medicine. “But we felt we had no choice. The disease was not responding to chemotherapy. We had to do this in order to save her life.”
Choriocarcinoma is a fast-growing form of cancer in the uterus that develops in women who are pregnant. It can occur after a normal pregnancy, and it is possible for a healthy baby to grow at the same time. The cancer is most often caused by a hydatidiform mole, which is a tumor resulting from over-production of the tissue that is supposed to develop into the placenta – the organ that grows during pregnancy to feed the fetus.