A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute indicates that pregnancy does not incur a greater risk of relapse for survivors of breast cancer. The safety of pregnancy for women with history of breast cancer has remained a controversial topic for many years, especially in cases of estrogen-receptor (ER) positive breast cancer. In these cases, hormones can promote the growth and spread of breast cancer so, as hormone levels change during pregnancy, it was thought that breast cancer would be more likely to recur in survivors of ER positive breast cancer during pregnancy.
The study compared breast cancer survivors who became pregnant with those who did not become pregnant over an average period of 7 years. The study tracked the recurrence rate of breast cancer and found that those who became pregnant did not experience a greater rate of recurrence, even in cases of ER positive breast cancer.
These findings show that pregnancy does not increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence, alleviating fears that pregnancy poses a greater risk to breast cancer survivors. The study notes that fears among physicians and patients may be a factor in the high rate of abortion among women who have a history of breast cancer.
In other cases where there are increasing number of births. The risk of breast cancer declines with the number of children borne. In addition, women who have given birth to five or more children have half the breast cancer risk of women who have not given birth “i” . Some evidence indicates that the reduced risk associated with a higher number of births may be limited to hormone receptor–positive breast cancer.
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- Matteo Lambertini, Niels Kroman, Lieveke Ameye, Octavi Cordoba, Alvaro Pinto, Giovanni Benedetti, Maj-Britt Jensen, Shari Gelber, Maria Del Grande, Michail Ignatiadis, Evandro de Azambuja, Marianne Paesmans, Fedro A. Peccatori, Hatem A. Azim. Long-term Safety of Pregnancy Following Breast Cancer According to Estrogen Receptor Status. JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2017; DOI: 1093/jnci/djx206