Chemo 'safe' for unborn babies

Previously, women who found out that they had cancer while they were pregnant were confronted with fears that chemotherapy may harm their unborn babies. A recent study has shown that a pregnant woman with breast cancer can undergo chemotherapy with virtually no risk to the foetus, according to MedicalXpress. The study is an important one, however, additional research is needed before in utero chemo is considered 'safe' by the wider medical community.

Promising findings

The study focused on 400 pregnant women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, 197 0f whom opted to have chemotherapy. The findings included:
  • Babies born to the chemo moms had a slightly lower birth weight, but few other noticeable differences to babies born to the non-chemo moms.
  • The 'chemo babies' showed no higher risk of birth defects.
  • Their Apgar scores were the same as non-chemo babies.
  • They had no increased risk of blood disorders or Alopecia.
  • Babies born prematurely were more at risk of complications.
  • Moms with cancer were around 35-40% more likely to give birth prematurely, but the complications were not directly related to chemotherapy.
Breast cancer risk to older moms

The findings are significant, as the frequency of pregnant moms with breast cancer is increasing- this attributed to women choosing to have babies later in life, at an age when breast cancer affects more women.

The study still needs to be supported by other findings from more studies, and researchers are exercising caution, saying that the long-term effects of in utero chemotherapy treatment on children still need to be investigated.

Have you had a breast examination during your pregnancy?
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