Chemotherapy and radiotherapy safe during pregnancy

29 September 2014

New analysis has found that unborn children suffer no negative impacts on mental or cardiac development, while their mother is receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy cancer treatment.

There have long been concerns about the effect of such therapies on children in the womb, which has caused some oncologists and expectant mothers to hesitate or delay treatment when there is a pregnancy.

In the study, 38 children prenatally exposed to chemotherapy were identified from the International Network for Cancer, Infertility and Pregnancy (INCIP) registry and assessed for mental development and cardiac health. These were then compared to the same information from a control group of children that had not been exposed to chemotherapy.

They found that, at a median age of almost two years of age, mental development was in the normal range for both groups of children, and were not significantly different. There was also found to be no impact on the heart's dimensions and functions.

Lead author Dr Frederic Amant, KU Leuven and University Hospitals Leuven in Belgium. "Fear about the risks of chemotherapy administration should not be a reason to terminate a pregnancy, delay cancer treatment for the mother, or to deliver a baby prematurely."

Posted by Edward Bartel


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