Pregnancy After Breast Cancer: population based study
Objectives: To identify women who survived breast cancer and subsequently conceived and to determine the rate of pregnancy (proportion), management, outcome of the cancer, and outcome of the first subsequent pregnancy.
Design: Population based descriptive study with cases identified from the Western Australian data linkage system and validated by review of medical charts. Supplementary data obtained from hospital and clinician records.
Setting: Western Australia, 1982-2003.
Participants: Women aged < 45 with a diagnosis of breast cancer who subsequently conceived.
Main outcome measures: Pregnancy outcome and rate, survival, time from diagnosis to pregnancy.
Results: Sixty two (54%) women with a diagnosis of breast cancer who subsequently conceived did so less than two years after their diagnosis: 29 of them had an abortion, 27 had a live birth, and six miscarried. Within a proportional hazards regression model subsequent pregnancy was associated with improved overall survival (hazard ratio 0.59, 95% confidence interval 0.37 to 0.95). When the model was stratified by time from diagnosis subsequent pregnancy was associated with improved overall survival in women who waited at least 24 months to conceive (0.48, 0.27 to 0.83) and a non-significant protective effect was seen for women who waited at least six months to become pregnant.
Conclusions: Our study does not support the current medical advice given to premenopausal women with a diagnosis of with breast cancer to wait two years before attempting to conceive. This recommendation may be valid for women who are receiving treatment or have systemic disease at diagnosis, but for women with localised disease early conception, six months after completing their treatment, is unlikely to reduce survival.
Ives, A., Saunders, C., Bulsara, M., & Semmens, J. (2007). Pregnancy after breast cancer: Population based study. British Medical Journal, 334(7586), 194-196. doi: 10.1136/bmj.39035.667176.55