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This week, the Environment Report is taking an in-depth look at the connections between cancer and the environment.When somebody gets cancer, one of the first questions is usually "why?"Does this kind of cancer run in my family?Was it something in the water, or in the air around me?Did I get exposed to something?What would you do, or where would you go to answer these questions? We'll explore how much we really know about the connections between cancer and the chemicals in our environment.We'll also meet both regular people and scientists trying to figure out if certain towns around Michigan are struggling with more cancer cases than other places because of current or past pollution.You'll hear about whether or not turning to the courts makes sense when it seems a company might to be blame for putting people at risk of cancer or other illnesses.Finally, we'll look at where we go from here. What do researchers know, and where are they looking next?

Your Story: One woman's experience with cancer while pregnant

A healthy mother with her son
A healthy mother with her son

As part of the Environment Report's week-long series, Cancer and Environment: Searching for Answers, we'll be highlighting some powerful stories of hope and loss in the words of those touched by cancer in Michigan. You can read more Michigan cancer stories here. How has cancer affected your life? Tell us your story.

What should have been one of the happiest and most exciting periods of my life, my pregnancy, became a nightmare when I found out I had cancer.

I started to experience problems when I was 8 weeks pregnant. I refused to take no for an answer when my concerns were ignored by several doctors, and found an OBGYN that took the time to investigate the issues I was having.

Many tests, biopsies and surgeries later, we found out I had Stage 1B1 grade 3 cervical cancer. My husband and I were faced with the choice of ending the pregnancy so I could have an immediate, radical hysterectomy and possibly further treatment, or facing the possibility of being significantly worse-off after having my child.

I chose to become my own advocate and I did my homework. I worked with an amazing gynecologist who was experienced with administering chemotherapy during pregnancy. I had chemotherapy during my second and third trimesters and 6 years later, my son and I are doing well.

There have been challenges, but I am so happy with the decision I made. I am thankful for the support of my doctors, my husband and support groups:hystersisters.com and Pregnant with Cancer. I continue to offer support to others in the same situation through working with Hystersisters and PWC.

-April Seybold

*This story was informed by the Public Insight Network. Share your story here.

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