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Cancer study good news for women

10 November 2014 09:14

Most women treated for breast cancer during pregnancy give birth to healthy children

Most women treated for breast cancer during pregnancy give birth to healthy children

New research shows the majority of women who are treated for breast cancer and fall pregnant afterwards have healthy babies.

And the same can also largely be said for those treated during their pregnancy.

Breast cancer affects 50,000 UK women every year and is the most common form of the disease in women.

Despite this the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) says it is still rare for young women to suffer from the disease, and they are becoming more likely to have children after treatment.

The RCOG says four in every five women under the age of 50 who have breast cancer live for five or more years after treatment, with this rate improving every year. Both pregnant women and those being treated for cancer can arrange specialist travel insurance to help them enjoy their holidays as part of maintaining a normal life.

It is rare for a younger woman to have breast cancer and suffering from it during a pregnancy is even rarer. The RCOG has released new information for those who have received treatment and want to have children, as well as those who are diagnosed while pregnant.

It says the latter group of women should be treated without delay by a team of multi-disciplinary medical professionals. Depending on the type of cancer and how severe it is, options include removing the lump or the breast and surgery can happen at any point.

Doctors say chemotherapy is safe after 13 weeks but using it before that stage could harm the baby.

Many women with breast cancer are treated with radiotherapy but this is not used on pregnant women until their baby is born. The drugs herceptin and tamoxifen, which reduce the likelihood of the cancer coming back, should also not be taken until after the birth.

There are only 1.3 to 2.4 cases of breast cancer during pregnancy in 10,000 births so it is rare, according to the chair of the RCOG Patient Information Committee, Philippa Marsden. It can be a frightening experience for a mum but she will have a team of specialists to ensure the best outcome, she said.