Cancer Diagnosis During Pregnancy

March 6, 2018 by: Pediatrics for Parents staff Article Tags: ,

The Question: Does a diagnosis of maternal cancer during pregnancy increase the unborn child’s risk of physical or cognitive development?

The Study: The researchers found 129 children 12-42 months old with mothers who had had cancer during their pregnancies. Seventy-four percent of the children were exposed to chemotherapy while in utero, 8.5% to radiotherapy, 10.1% to surgery and 10.9% had no treatment. All the children were matched to children with similar histories except they had no history of maternal cancer during pregnancy.

The physical and cognitive development was compared among the matched pairs to determine the effect, if any, of the cancer and its treatment.

The Results: The prenatal diagnosis of maternal cancer and treatment of lack of it wasn’t found to affect cognitive, cardiac or general development through early childhood.

Comment: This study should reassure women who are diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy that treatment doesn’t appear to cause any problems to the developing fetus.

Read More: The New England Journal of Medicine, 11/05/15