Earlier scientific claims have established that chemotherapy treatment is considered hazardous for pregnant women. The basis for such an accepted idea is the fact that chemotherapy is a very potent anti-cancer cell medication capable of indiscriminately destroying even healthy outlying cells. Thus women diagnosed with breast cancer; or any type of potentially malignant carcinoma variety, are being forced to make difficult choices – abortion or delayed treatment.
On August 16, 2012, a report surfaced of a new finding that will liberate pregnant cancer patients in the foreseeable future. German researchers have reached an important breakthrough in their studies. It is already possible for pregnant women to undergo chemotherapy.
The Lancet Oncology has published a case wherein over half of the 400 pregnant women are undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Then they focused their further scrutiny on the 197 women in determining whether their new-born babies are afflicted with side effects due to the administration of the cancer drug.
Tests have yielded interesting results for two types of babies. Babies who are exposed to chemotherapy in-vitro did not possess any serious birthing defect. No evidences of blood loss or hair loss were determined. Although on an average scale, babies whose mothers underwent chemotherapy seem to have lower birth weight. However, these findings are deemed statistically inconclusive by the researchers.
Professor Sybill Loibl, the lead researcher of the German Breast Group, has released her temporary conclusion. She said, “In the general population, about 10 to 13 per cent of infants are born preterm. But in our study, 50 per cent of the women with breast cancer delivered preterm, with 23 per cent delivering before the 35th week.” In their findings, it was determined that reports of birthing complications are all results of babies being born prematurely. She further added, “Our findings emphasize the magnitude of highlighting a full-term delivery for women undergoing chemotherapy during pregnancy.”
Professor Loibl awaits other studies to confirm their findings that pregnant women can be treated with chemotherapy without substantial risk to fetal and maternal results. It has been earlier postulated by previous studies that chemotherapy does not harm an unborn child after the first trimester. This recent study only reinforced the idea that chemotherapy is relatively safe for pregnant women.