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Medicineworld.org: Chemotherapy During Pregnancy

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Chemotherapy During Pregnancy

Chemotherapy During Pregnancy
Breast cancer diagnosis can happen to a woman while she is awaiting the birth of a baby. About 3,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States while they are pregnant. If a woman develops breast cancer during her pregnancy, she has often to choose between taking chemotherapy drugs, which could be harmful for the fetus, and not taking any chemotherapy drugs during pregnancy, which would increase the risk of breast cancer progression.

A new study suggests that in most of the cases women can have chemotherapy during pregnancy without causing damage to the fetus. These findings come from a recent research conducted by Dr. Richard Theriault and his colleagues from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

"Treating women who have breast cancer diagnosed while pregnant can result in happy mothers and the expected outcome of a healthy baby".

In this study the scientists followed 57 pregnant women with breast cancer. Among these women deliveries occurred between 37 weeks and 42 weeks of gestation, and mean birth weight of the babies was 6.4 pounds. Fifty-seven percent of the women had a vaginal delivery and thirty-nine percent had a Caesarian delivery.

"The attitude we hear most often is, 'we can't treat the cancer because of the pregnancy,' " Theriault said. Doctors then offered patients one of two options: "Delay the therapy, or terminate the pregnancy, so we can treat it. But terminating the pregnancy doesn't improve the mother's outcome. It does, however, obviate the concern about fetal outcomes".

Theriault says that breast cancer during pregnancy can be treated successfully without causing any damage to the fetus. In his study they have found that no significant problems with the outcomes of pregnancy in women who were treated during pregnancy. Sixty-three percent of the infants in this study no neonatal complications. One child was born with Down's syndrome and another with a clubfoot. Neither of these complications are believed to be correlation to chemotherapy.

"Among the mothers, 75 percent are alive without breast cancer recurrence," Theriault said. In addition, there appeared to be no difference in outcome among women with breast cancer who were pregnant compared with those who were not pregnant, he said.

The bottom line, as per Theriault: "Termination of pregnancy is not mandatory to provide therapy and has no benefit in the perspective of the cancer".




Did you know?
Breast cancer diagnosis can happen to a woman while she is awaiting the birth of a baby. About 3,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States while they are pregnant. If a woman develops breast cancer during her pregnancy, she has often to choose between taking chemotherapy drugs, which could be harmful for the fetus, and not taking any chemotherapy drugs during pregnancy, which would increase the risk of breast cancer progression.

Medicineworld.org: Chemotherapy During Pregnancy

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