Breast cancer during pregnancy

By • Published: April 6th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Imagine dealing with the hormonal ups and downs and emotions of pregnancy… and then finding out you have breast cancer.

Less than three percent of pregnant women face this terrifying scenario each year. But with more women waiting until their thirties or forties to have children, the situation could become more common because a woman’s risk for breast cancer increases as she ages.

Treating pregnant women for cancer can be a challenge for doctors, who must care for mother and baby. Because of the complications, some studies have claimed that pregnant women do not fare as well as other breast cancer patients. But a new study from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas shows that this may not be the case.

After examining the cases of six-hundred breast cancer patients under thirty-five, the researchers found that rates of survival, disease spread and recurrence after ten years did not seem to be affected by pregnancy. The rates were about the same in patients who were pregnant and those who were not.

However, the study also found that pregnant women were more likely to be diagnosed and treated for the disease later than women who were not expecting a child.

The researchers also noted that survival rates were actually better for women who are treated during pregnancy than those who wait until after the baby is born.

Worried about your pregnancy? Talk to your doctor to devise a treatment plan focused on you and the baby.