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Pregnant patients lose out in breast cancer treatment; a new approach is needed
Date:4/16/2008

Berlin, Germany: Pregnant breast cancer patients can be treated as closely as possible to existing guidelines for non-pregnant patients, with few ill effects, a scientist told the 6th European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC-6) today (Wednesday 16 April).

Dr. Sibylle Loibl, Assistant Professor in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at University of Frankfurt, Germany, and a member of the German Breast Group, said that until now, evidence upon which decisions on treatment for pregnant patients could be made was limited, and that a cautious approach by doctors meant that many women did not get the best treatment for their cancer. We realised that there are hardly any data on this subject, she said, and therefore set out to collect information from patients in Germany and throughout Europe.

The German Breast Group launched a data-collection exercise in 2003. Information on 122 pregnant patients diagnosed with breast cancer between April 2003 and December 2007 was analysed for a number of factors foetal outcome four weeks after delivery, maternal outcome of pregnancy, stage and biological characteristics of the breast cancer, breast cancer therapy, sensitivity and specificity of diagnostic procedures, outcome of the child five years later, and outcome of the breast cancer five years after diagnosis.

The median gestational age at the time of diagnosis was 21 weeks, and the median age of the women 33 years. Some patients chose not to continue the pregnancy on learning of their diagnosis, but of those who did, 33.3% received surgery only, 43.2% were treated by surgery and chemotherapy, 5.4% by chemotherapy alone, and 2.7% had no treatment at all. The median time for delivery was 36 weeks, slightly earlier than that which is normal in healthy women. Although there were some health problems among the newborn babies, they were generally minor, and the foetal outcome in babies whose mothers received chemotherapy was not different to those whose
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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