Navigation Links
Chemo During Pregnancy Doesn't Seem to Harm Baby

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds that the babies of women who had chemotherapy while pregnant aren't at higher risk for a variety of medical disorders, a sign that the treatment should be safe for the fetus in most instances.

There's a caveat: babies born to pregnant women who had chemotherapy were more likely to be born prematurely, potentially putting them at risk for impaired brain development, which can cause problems with memory, thinking and learning skills.

Still, the findings are "very good news," said maternal-fetal medicine specialist Dr. Elyce Cardonick, who wrote a commentary accompanying the study.

"No pregnant woman likes to choose between treating themselves and protecting the baby," said Cardonick, who works at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in Camden, N.J. "They don't have to choose. By making themselves healthy, they're helping the baby."

An estimated one in 1,000 pregnant women have cancer, Cardonick said. In some cases, doctors recommend that the women undergo abortions. But chemotherapy is an option.

Typically, doctors only treat the women outside the early stages of pregnancy and use older drugs that are "tried and true," Cardonick said.

Could chemotherapy harm the developing fetus? Previous research has suggested it won't, but researchers led by Dr. Frederic Amant, a gynecologic oncologist and assistant professor at Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven, Belgium, sought to understand whether the cancer treatment might affect babies after they are born.

In the new study, the researchers examined medical records and test results of 70 children whose pregnant mothers underwent chemotherapy. The children were followed for an average of 22 months and up to 18 years.

"The study is unique since this is the first time children were extensively examined over the long term," Amant said.

The investigators found that the children weren't at higher risk of heart, hearing or nervous system disorders, or general health and growth problems.

As to why the chemotherapy drugs do not reach the fetus and cause harm, Amant said the placenta acts like a filter, keeping most of the medications away from the fetus. Also, doctors avoid chemotherapy in the first trimester, when organs are in the early stages of development and especially vulnerable, Amant added.

The study is one of a series of articles about pregnant women and cancer published online Feb. 10 in The Lancet Oncology.

The other articles published in this issue report that:

  • The current trend in medicine is to allow pregnancies to continue in women diagnosed with cervical or ovarian cancer. However, chemotherapy must not be used in the first eight weeks, and the pregnancies come with risks.
  • Pregnant women with breast cancer can undergo both surgery and chemotherapy, all with the aim of a full-term pregnancy. The mother's disease outcome would not be improved by terminating the pregnancy.
  • Blood cancer can cause complications in pregnant women, such as blood clots, that may lead to advice to terminate the pregnancy at an early stage to protect the health of the mother. But women in later stages of pregnancy may find it feasible to undergo cancer treatment while preserving the pregnancy.

More information

For more about pregnancy and cancer, visit the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

SOURCES: Frederic Amant, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor and head, scientific section of gynecologic oncology, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium; Elyce Cardonick, M.D., department of obstetrics and gynecology, division of maternal-fetal medicine, Cooper University Hospital, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Camden, N.J.; Feb. 9, 2012, The Lancet Oncology, online

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Radiation plus chemotherapy provides long-term positive results for head and neck cancer patients
2. More Evidence for Oxaliplatin as Colon Cancer Chemotherapy
3. DNA Damage From Chemo May Help Spur Leukemias Return
4. Selectively stopping glutathione sensitizes brain tumors to chemotherapy
5. Gene Mutation Linked to Chemo-Resistant Colon Cancer
6. Acupuncture Might Ease Chemotherapy Pain
7. Childhood cancer survivors exposure to chemotherapy, radiation does not increase risk of birth defects in their children
8. Predicting resistance to brain tumor chemotherapy
9. Survival rates increase with chemotherapy alone in patients with limited-stage Hodgkins lymphoma
10. Radiation May Also Lead to Chemo Brain
11. Penn researchers repair immune system in leukemia patients following chemotherapy
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Chemo During Pregnancy Doesn't Seem to Harm Baby
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... recently awarded their highest five-star ... , Millions of individuals in the United States and Canada wear eyeglasses. Once considered ... both correct vision and make a fashion statement. Even celebrities use glasses as a ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... Pixel Film ... Pro X. , "Film editors can give their videos a whole new perspective by ... Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains over 30 ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need a treatment plan to not ... comprehensive approach that can help for preservation of fertility and ultimately achieving a ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a ... new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a ... occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice have simply gotten out of ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe earned ... the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine at ... fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the opportunity ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  MedSource announced ... as its e-clinical software solution of choice.  This ... best possible value to their clients by offering ... The preferred relationship establishes nowEDC as the EDC ... for MedSource,s full-service clients.  "nowEDC has long been ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  In a startling report released today, National Safety Council ... a comprehensive, proven plan to eliminate prescription opioid overdoses. ... states are tackling the worst drug crisis in recorded U.S. history, ... Kentucky , New Mexico , ... the 28 failing states, three – Michigan , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... "Key Pharma News Issue 52" report to their offering. ... need in influenza treatment creates a favourable commercial environment for ... and growing patient base that will serve to drive considerable ... flu vaccine would serve to cap sales considerably, but development ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: