Pregnancy and cancer are an incongruous combination the one developing life and the other sapping the vitality of a body.
Any cell in the body can develop cancer.
Pregnant women can also develop cancer the common ones being breast, thyroid, and cervical cancer.
Does Cancer Affects the Unborn Child?
Medicines, radiation, and chemotherapy will pose a danger to the unborn child.
So the pregnant woman and her physician/oncologist must consider a number of aspects before deciding on the treatment.
- The trimester she is in
- The kind of cancer
- How developed
- How much more or rapidly it is likely to develop
- Whether she suffers from any other kind of health problems
Sometimes the symptoms of cancer can resemble those of pregnancy such as…
- and recurrent headaches
So because of that diagnosis of the cancer is likely to get delay.
It also happens that the tests carries out during pregnancy can reveal the existence of cancer.
A standard ultrasound could show up ovarian cancer, which was not suspected earlier that the pregnancy and cancer exists.
Occasionally, the pregnancy’s hormonal changes may fuel the growth of cancer cells or affect them differently.
But most of the times pregnancy does not affect the way the melanoma behaves.
It is important to understand that in most cases the cancer will not directly have an effect on the fetus as the tumor cannot grow in the placenta or in the fetus.
It can happen in very rare cases,that cancer affects the pregnancy though, that the tumor crosses the placenta and affects the fetus.
However, x-rays and other tests that are use to diagnose the cancer can affect the unborn child.
Radiation therapy can result in a miscarriage, birth deficiencies, or the child developing cancer later in life.
If the fetus is fully shaped and there are no risks of birth defects then chemotherapy can be used after the first trimester.
But there is still the risk that the medication can be dangerous for the baby, leading to a premature birth.
Surgery is the least risky option for cancer during pregnancy, as it will cause the slightest harm to the fetus.
The Best Treatments in Case of Pregnancy and Cancer
Doctors might prefer to wait till the baby is born and then start the patient on chemotherapy, but this depends on the stage the cancer is at.
If time is a crucial factor, then a caesarian section or induced delivery can help reduce the time to treatment.
However, if the cancer is diagnosed in the first trimester itself then the doctor may recommend ending the pregnancy.
The mother has a priority in these cases.
The prognosis for a pregnant woman is the same as for a no pregnant woman, all other conditions are similar.
It is only if there is a delay in diagnosis that the pregnant woman may have worse chances of recovery.