STUART, Fla. — A Stuart woman learned she had breast cancer at the same time she was pregnant. Her optimism and treatment helped her fight it.
Alex Taylor is a mother of five.
"Five completely different personalities," she said. "We are a close family."
She was pregnant with Tayva when she felt a lump in her breast.
After getting checked by a doctor, she was initially diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer.
"The cancer was a lot to take in," Taylor said. "But at that point, I am nine months pregnant. All I am worried about is my daughter. How is it affecting her? Is it affecting her? What do we do to make sure she is safe? All of my physicians worked together as a team."
Dr. Elena Rehl, a breast surgeon at Good Samaritan Medical Center, said breast cancer and pregnancy "are pretty rare."
"She came to see me about a week before her due date and she had noticed a lump in her breast, and so she came to have a checkout and we did a biopsy and, unfortunately, came back as a very aggressive form of breast cancer," Rehl said.
Rehl said Taylor ended up delivering her baby, but the tumor grew and she now has stage 3 breast cancer.
"The skin started to break down," Taylor said. "So the reality was kind of setting in for me and I was a new mom. I had four kids at home and I had a new baby. Just dealing with postpartum and being a mom of a newborn, then the cancer."
Rehl said Taylor had chemotherapy after her pregnancy.
"Then she had her surgery after chemotherapy and she did excellent," Rehl said.
Taylor said the chemo over the next few months were tough. But it was the tremendous support system of her husband, family and friends who helped her get through it.
She is now cancer free and Tayva is healthy. She hopes her story will encourage other women to get screened for breast cancer and wants those who have been diagnosed to know that they aren't alone in the fight.
"Keep your head up," Taylor said. "It is just a mental thing, and it doesn't matter how tired, how sick or how depressed you feel about the circumstance. Wake up every day with the intention of a positive attitude. You really mentally have to stay strong."
WATCH: Conversation about breast cancer awareness