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Study finds pregnancy has no impact on breast cancer survival, delays treatment, diagnosis
Date:2/8/2009

young age itself," said Perkins, the study's senior author.

For the retrospective study, Beadle, Perkins and their colleagues reviewed the records of 652 M. D. Anderson breast cancer patients, all were 35-years-old or younger at the time of diagnosis and treated at M. D. Anderson between 1973 and 2006. Of those women, 104 (15.6 percent) had PABC - 51 developed their cancer during their pregnancy and 53 developed the disease within one year post-pregnancy. Median follow-up for PABC patients compared to non-PABC patients was 95.5 months versus 91 months respectively.

When comparing the PABC and the non-PABC cohorts, the researchers found no statistical difference between the 10-year rates of: locoregional recurrence (23.4 percent, PABC; 19.2 percent, non-PABC), metastasis (45.1, percent PABC; 38.9 percent, non-PABC), or overall survival (64.6 percent, PABC; 64.8 percent, non-PABC).

"What we did find, however, is that women with PABC presented with more advanced disease, both in the breast and lymph nodes," said Beadle. "These women seem to have a significant delay in diagnosis, and their symptoms were not identified as breast cancer for an extended period of time - putting them at a disadvantage by withholding necessary treatment."

In an analysis of the 51 PABC patients who developed breast cancer during their pregnancy, 26 received some form of treatment; 25 received no therapy. Of those 25, 22 patients (88 percent) had disease symptoms that were not evaluated; three had a breast cancer diagnosis but were advised not to begin treatment until after delivery.

In PABC patients, the overall survival in those who received therapy was 78.7 percent, compared to 44.7 percent in those who receive none, though researchers caution that these statistics reflect a small sample size. Regardless, the researchers say it's important to note that there was no difference in the statistic by decade, reiterating there's still progress to b
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Contact: Laura Sussman
lsussman@mdanderson.org
713-745-2457
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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