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'Cancer treatments safe while pregnant'

29 September, 2015

'Cancer treatments safe while pregnant'

Pregnant women who discover they have cancer should not delay treatment until after birth, say researchers.

A study of 129 children prenatally exposed to cancer treatments showed normal heart function development and mental processes.

A total of 89 of the children were exposed to chemotherapy, four to radiotherapy and seven to both chemotherapy and radiotherapy before birth.

There were 13 instances of surgery, one of the cancer drug Herceptin and one of interferon beta.

Another 14 mothers with cancer did not receive treatment during their pregnancy.

The authors said: ‘Prenatal exposure to maternal cancer with or without treatment did not impair the cognitive, cardiac, or general development of children in early childhood.

‘Prematurity was correlated with a worse cognitive outcome, but this effect was independent of cancer treatment.’

However, the study emphasises that the women in the study did not receive treatment during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy – when the risk of birth defects is greatest.

The findings of the research were presented on Monday (28 September) at the European Cancer Congress in Vienna.

To access the paper, which has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, click here

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