Study: Pregnant Women Don’t Need Abortion to Treat Cancer

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 4, 2012   |   11:52AM   |   Washington, DC

A new collection of studies and medical data from The Lancet, a prominent British medical journal, shows pregnant women don’t need to have an abortion in order to get treatment for cancer. The information shows chemo treatment does not harm the unborn baby and mothers can treat themselves for cancer without worrying about effects on the unborn child.

As the London Telegraph reports:

A collection of research studies published in a special edition of The Lancet medical journal has offered reassurance for women as it was found that chemotherapy treatment after the first trimester does not harm the unborn child. Up to one in 2,000 pregnancies is affected by cancer and this rate is increasing by 2.5 per cent a year as women have children later in life and cancer cases are rising.

In An a comment article in the journal, researchers Philippe Morice, Catherine Uzan, and Serge Uzan of the Department of Gynaecologic Surgery, at the Institute Gustave Roussy, in France said: “Treatment of malignancy in pregnancy is still associated with unacceptable errors: eg, the sometimes unjustified termination of pregnancies or the choice of an inadequate strategy for treatment of a tumour with the risk of compromised survival.”

Lead author on two of the studies, Dr Frédéric Amant, at the Leuven Cancer Institute, in Belgium, said: “The situation remains challenging since in some situations an advanced cancer can be fatal for mother and foetus.

“Importantly, the new insights we gained during our research facilitate cancer treatment and provide hope for mother and child in most cases. Most mothers feel stronger and are even more motivated to undergo the cancer treatment and its side effects, since she is fighting for her child as well.

“Whether the patient already has children, her desire to continue the present pregnancy, the opinion of the partner and the predicted outcome determine her choices and reactions when breast cancer is diagnosed during pregnancy. The patient and her partner should be informed about the different treatment options and the physician should explain that termination of pregnancy does not seem to improve maternal outcome, but the decision to continue or end the pregnancy is a personal one.”

The researchers in question followed up with 70 children whose mothers have chemotherapy while they were in the womb. The research shows no problematic after-effects.

They were found to have normal development, IQ, hearing, heart function and general health. Those who were born prematurely had lower IQ scores, which is thought to be connected to the early birth rather than the drugs as this is seen in babies not exposed to chemotherapy, the researchers said.

Lead author Dr Amant said: “We show that children who were prenatally exposed to chemotherapy do as well as other children.

“Our findings do not support a strategy of delay in chemotherapy administration or iatrogenic (ie physician induced) preterm delivery with post-partum chemotherapy administration to avoid harm to the fetus.”

“The decision to administer chemotherapy should follow the same guidelines as in non-pregnant patients. In practice, it is possible to administer chemotherapy from 14 weeks gestational age onwards with specific attention to prenatal care.”

In 2009, reported on a new studyshowing doctors don’t need to suggest an abortion to pregnant women who want cancer treatment. The study involved a concept called pregnancy associated breast cancer — breast cancer that is diagnosed when a woman is pregnant or within a year after delivery.

The mainstream media highlighted the study as if it showed a new concept, somehow finally dismissing the notion that pregnant women undergoing breast cancer treatment should have an abortion. But Dr. Joel Brind, a Baruch College professor says studies have shown that for decades.

“Actually, this finding has been reported many times in the last 15 years,” Brind explained.

“Unfortunately, many doctors still recommend abortion for women diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant, so that they can treat the cancer more aggressively. This is despite worldwide research going back as far as the 1930’s that shows that so-called ‘therapeutic abortion’ substantially shortens lifespan, whereas carrying the pregnancy to term makes long-term cure more likely,” he said.

Brind says that a 1976 review of all studies published to that point, conducted by French doctor P. Juret, reported that, “The futility of therapeutic abortion is now certain.”

Although the study isn’t the revelation the mainstream media claimed, Brind says it is quite useful.

“What the new story out of MD Anderson shows is that women in this particular situation — which are only about 3% of all breast cancers — have no worse a prognosis than women with the same stage of breast cancer who are not pregnant,” he said.

“But what is most important about the current report is the absence of any data about abortion, i.e., a difference in prognosis as a function of whether or not the pregnant patient aborts the baby,” he explained. “To their credit, doctors at MD Anderson have, for at least the last several years, been very good at treating both patients: Mom and her unborn child.”

“Hopefully, the current report will be yet another nail in the coffin of ‘therapeutic abortion,’” he told