Barcelona, Spain: Women who have been treated for breast cancer can choose to become pregnant and have babies, without fears that pregnancy could put them at higher risk of dying from their cancer, according to a major, new study.
In a meta-analysis of 14 trials, presented today (Friday) at the seventh European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC7), researchers from Belgium and Italy found that, not only was pregnancy safe for breast cancer survivors, but, in fact, it could improve their chances of survival.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women during their childbearing years. As women delay starting a family until they are older, and the survival from breast cancer has improved, increasing numbers of breast cancer survivors want to have babies after their cancer treatment has finished. Until now, it was unclear whether it was safe for them to do so, due to concerns that the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, in particular the increase in oestrogen, could prompt the cancer to recur or become more aggressive.
Dr Hatem A. Azim, Jr., a Fellow at the Department of Medical Oncology at the Institute Jules Bordet (Brussels, Belgium), and colleagues in Italy analysed results from 14 trials that had taken place between 1970 and 2009, involving 1,417 pregnant women with a history of breast cancer and 18,059 women with a history of breast cancer who were not pregnant.
They found that patients who became pregnant following a diagnosis of breast cancer had a significant reduction of 42% in the risk of death compared to breast cancer survivors who did not get pregnant.
Dr Azim said: "Our findings clearly demonstrate that pregnancy is safe in women with history of successfully treated breast cancer. There is a wide perception in the oncology community that women with history of breast cancer should not get pregnant for fear of pregnancy increasing the risk of recurrence by means of hormonal stimulation. This meta-
|Contact: Emma Mason|
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation