Cancer treatment during pregnancy has no harmful effects for baby

Pregnant Woman

Children born to mothers having undergone treatment against cancer during pregnancy do not pose particular problems in their development, says a study by the KUL with 129 children whose mothers had undergone such treatment.

These results were published Monday in The New England Journalist of Medicine and presented at the European Cancer Congress in Vienna.

The study compared children with a compound control group born in the same period and whose mother had not undergo treatment against cancer; it appeared that there was no difference in mental capacity or medical problems between the children of two groups. The older children also underwent a complete cardiac examination, which revealed nothing unusual. Children with cancer mothers are as healthy as others.

According to Professor of Gynaecology KUL Frédéric Amant, these results confirm that there is no reason to worry about the impact of a cancer treatment on the development of a fetus. The placenta sufficiently protects the unborn child of the emitted rays during radiotherapy and chemotherapy sessions.

In Flanders, sixty women face this situation every year. In Europe, they are between 2,500 and 5,000.

The study also shows that premature birth presents more risks than chemotherapy. Researchers have indeed found a significant link between mental development retardation and premature birth.

“Preventing preterm birth is more important than the fact of wanting to avoid at all costs chemotherapy,” says Dr. Amant.


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