Pregnancy-related Breast Cancer: Prognosis

A pregnant woman
A pregnant woman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bottom Line: Survival is similar whether breast cancer is diagnosed in pregnant or non-pregnant women.

Background: Nearly 3% of breast cancers are diagnosed during pregnancy. Pregnant women are often understandably concerned about whether their prognosis is worse because of the pregnancy.

The study: Belgian investigators identified women from 7 European countries who received diagnoses of invasive breast cancer during pregnancy between 2000 and 2011. Outcomes were then compared to those of women 45 years old or younger who received the same diagnosis while not pregnant.

Results: After adjusting for age at diagnosis,stage, grade, tumor type, receptor status, and chemotherapy, the average disease-free survival chance was 65% for pregnant women, and  71% for the nonpregnant women. The probablities of overall survival were 78% and 81%, respectively. These differences were not statistically significant.

My take: These findings allowus to counsel women that their survival will not be shortened because their cancer was diagnosed during pregnancy. We also know that selected chemotherapy may be safely and effectively given during pregnancy, without compromise to the fetus. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

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Reference: Lancet Oncol 2012;13:887

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understandcancerin60minutes

Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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