Chennai: “Will I be able to conceive again and whether there will be chances of recurrence of cancer.” This is the million dollar question that comes across the mind of every woman who has survived breast cancer.
And the answer to the question seems to have come in the form of a study whose results were released recently. The study conducted at American Society of Clinical Oncology on breast cancer survivors presented no difference in recurrence rates if women conceived or chose to not become pregnant, which states that it is safe for women to conceive after treatment and pregnancy will not increase the risk of recurrence of cancer and subsequent death.
Doctors too agree that pregnancy does not pose the threat of cancer recurrence in women cancer survivors.
Many women are diagnosed with breast cancer at an early age, when they are not married or have no children. After being treated for cancer, its recurrence is feared as hormonal changes can stimulate cancer over time. But doctors say that
after a safe period of 2-3 years, women can conceive without being bothered about recurrence of cancer.
“Though cancer cases have specific characteristics, generally, pregnancy can be normal even for breast cancer survivors, but the safe period of at least 2-5 years is suggested. The nine months of pregnancy are completely safe and there are minimum chances of recurrence of cancer,” said senior oncologist Dr Anitha Ramesh.
She adds that the child is unlikely to be affected due to cancer treatment but several factors such as age, type of breast cancer, and time period should be considered before conceiving.
Breast cancer can be hormone dependent or hormone independent, as it has always been a concern that high hormone levels can result from a pregnancy and might increase the chance of cancer coming back.
“It is wrong to say that recurrence of cancer be triggered by pregnancy. Moreover, if the cancer is hormone dependent, recurrence can be stopped by the medication as the secretion of hormones such as testosterone, estrogen can be controlled by medicines and chances of recurrence can be minimised,” said Dr Krishna Kumar, head oncologist, Meenakshi Hospital.
Another concern is of breastfeeding, but doctors say that there is no such proof that breastfeeding after breast cancer treatment increases the risk of recurrence. But doctors support the idea that regular breastfeeding might actually lower the risk of the cancer reappearance....