Pregnancy And Breast Cancer

A new study offers promising news for survivors of breast cancer who want to have children, reports CBS This Morning Health Contributor Dr. Dave Hnida of CBS station KCNC-TV in Denver.

Breast cancer for any woman can be frightening, but for childless women, there can be an added worry. For years, many doctors have been concerned that pregnancy may cause a recurrence of the cancer, but a new study shows that isn't the case.

Researchers at the University of Washington looked at 288 premenopausal women who were diagnosed with the earlier phases of breast cancer -- stage I or stage II. In a comparison of the women who did become pregnant later and those who did not, there was no difference in the rate of recurrence or death from breast cancer.

However, scientists did note that the women who became pregnant did have a 70 percent higher rate of miscarriage than expected. Doctors believe this may be a result of the chemotherapy and radiation that is often used to treat breast cancer. Chemotherapy treatments can also interfere with conception by affecting a woman's ovaries.

This wasn't the first study that has found that women with breast cancer later go on to become pregnant, but it offers more evidence to ease the fear of breast cancer patients who may be thinking of having a child.

Before trying to become pregnant, it's important to check with your doctor to make sure the timing is right.

Generally, doctors advise women in the early stages of breast cancer to wait at least two years, since that window of time is when the illness is most likely to come back.

Reported By Dr. Dave Hnida