Monday, March 29, 2010
Pregnancy 'May Protect Against Breast Cancer Recurrence'
There is good news today for women who have fought against breast cancer! Researchers from Belgium and Italy have found that that not it safe to be pregnant after fighting breast cancer, it may be a blessing in disguise as it also increased their chances of survival.
In a meta-analysis of 14 trials Dr Hatem A. Azim, Jr., a Fellow at the Department of Medical Oncology at the Institute Jules Bordet (Brussels, Belgium) explained that pregnancy seemed to confer a protective effect on breast cancer survivors. This was thought to be due to the immune system and also due to the hormones.
He said that although it is known that estrogen is linked with breast cancer development, when present in high level, the same hormone exerts inhibitory effect on the cancer cells. Prolactin too is at a high level during pregnancy, which too acts as a shield against cancer cells.
"Nowadays, fertility after cancer has become a top issue not only for patients, but also physicians. In 2006, the American Society of Clinical Oncology published guidelines that state that fertility issues should be discussed with patients before treatment - a recommendation we believe is of great importance." Concluded Dr. Azim
The researches are now busy refining the results and know more about the effect of the timing of pregnancy as to how soon or how later will it be safe to have a baby after treatment. They are also trying to find the difference in survival according to the patient's age, lymph node status and so on. - Atula, Staff Writer.