Cancer Treatment & Pregnancy

  1. Hello! I just watched a presentation in school about cancer, and it's treatments, and I was left with a question that no one could answer. What happens with cancer treatment with pregnant women? Does it effect the fetus? I'm guessing yes.... Can pregnant women even recieve chemo or radiation? Only to a certain point? Could someone fill me in on how it all works with pregnancy?
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   RADONC-RN
    Sorry, i know this is a little for your presentation. I brought this question up with my Rad Onc MD. He said it was a very touch problem. I will focus on pregnant women with Breast Cancer. My doc said that there some chemo that can be given. The pt would be given a choice most likely for that or a mastectomy. Very few would radiate a pregnant woman but it can be done.The fetus would get "radiation scatter" from the treatment but the long term side effects would be there. The child could develop cancer at any time of their life. It is an all around bad situation to be in.
  4. by   kellyrn9956
    There are certain chemotherapy drugs that affect the fetus more than others...and it is especially harmful during the first trimester. However, I have given drugs to women in their second and third trimesters. They try to delay radiation until delivery if possible. It is a very tricky situation!
  5. by   RNsane
    Quote from S.T.A.C.E.Y
    Hello! I just watched a presentation in school about cancer, and it's treatments, and I was left with a question that no one could answer. What happens with cancer treatment with pregnant women? Does it effect the fetus? I'm guessing yes.... Can pregnant women even recieve chemo or radiation? Only to a certain point? Could someone fill me in on how it all works with pregnancy?
    If the cancer is aggressive and the pregnancy is early stage, and the chemo must be given ASAP, the woman is often encouraged to have a theraputic abortion in order to save herself. I have seen women refuse to abort and take the chemo and end up miscarrying. If the cancer is slow growing, the woman can wait until she gives birth to start treatment.
  6. by   prowlingMA
    A very touchy area. As stated above there are some drupgs that can be used, depending on what type of cancer the mom has. We had a pt that had bilat. breast cancer that was able to have a healthy baby. She stopped tx while pregnant,though.

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