A study shows that for women who survive breast cancer pregnancy does not expose a greater risk of disease recurrence. But each case must be evaluated for itself
Cancer: alarm bells not to be underestimated
Very common among breast cancer survivors is the fear that a pregnancy increases the risk of the disease recurring. A European study, presented at the Congress of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), showed instead that maternity, after cancer, does not increase the risk of relapses.
The research considered 1200 women, demonstrating that patients who became pregnant after an initial diagnosis of breast cancer, including those with positive estrogen-sensitive ER tumors, do not present a greater risk that the disease may recur.
An important result, considering that in spite of the fact that half of women who have overcome breast cancer show a desire for motherhood, only less than 10% become pregnant. In fact, of all cancer survivors, women who are cured of breast cancer are the least likely to have children. This was because it was a widespread belief among patients, but also among doctors, that pregnancy could expose to recurrences, particularly for those who had a positive ER breast cancer, a cancer fed by estrogen, whose levels increased during pregnancy. fear that it could activate the dormant cancer cells.
Another factor of concern was the need to stop hormonal therapies to be followed after surgery, before remaining in an interesting state. These therapies help prevent the return of cancer. The surviving patients are prescribed for 5 or even 10 years.
Matteo Lambertini, member of the European Oncology Society (ESMO) and oncologist at the Bordet Institute in Brussels and first author of the research, states:
Our results confirm that pregnancy after breast cancer should not be discouraged, even for women with positive ER cancer. Obviously, however, the personal history of each individual patient must be considered in deciding how long to wait before trying to have children.
Of the 1200 women considered, 333 patients became pregnant. After 10 years from the diagnosis of the disease, the researchers found that among patients who became mothers there was no greater risk of relapse than those who had no children. In addition, women who had survived ER negative, less widespread breast cancer, were 42% less likely to die.
Another positive sign, although the results are still scarce, concerns breastfeeding. According to experts, there are signs that it is possible to breastfeed even for those who have undergone breast surgery.