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The Cancer in Pregnancy Forum

Archived Questions and Answers
This Forum has been the centre of an exceptional exchange of knowledge diagnosis, treatment, symptoms and other effects of cancer during pregnancy and lactation. All are welcome to review the Questions and Answers posted here, provided that they acknowledge and accept the important proviso and disclaimer below.
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Forum > Chemotherapy: Maternal
Pregnancy after chemotherapy

CCoPE
Date: 2001-06-25

Question:
My 39 yr old wife has been sucessfully treated for breast cancer. Neo adjuvant chemo-adriamyocin and taxotere, surgery and radiation. Her period returned 9 months post chemo and 4 most post radiation. Our reproductive specialist has informed us that we have eggs ripening. Is there any information that you can suggest on post-chemo pregnancy and or is the risk of birth defects/ development problems higher post-chemo? Is this all too quick?

Answer:
The following information should not replace the assessment and advice you have been receiving from your physician (cancer specialist, obstetrician, or any other healthcare provider). It is offered for your information only

It is currently unknown whether the chemotherapy agents used to treat your wife's breast cancer, adriamycin (doxorubicin) and taxotere docetaxel), have any negative effects on ovarian function. And, even though THEORETICALLY chemotherapy could damage the genetic content of the eggs which could potentially result in congenital malformations, there is NO EVIDENCE to suggest that following completion of chemotherapy fertile women have higher rates of birth defects (above the 1-3% baseline).

Something else to consider is medical literature that suggests that women who begin chemotherapy later in life have fewer eggs at the time of treatment and therefore the risk of early menopause may be greater (if there has been damage to the eggs or their support cells).

One final note: The medical literature does not indicate that pregnancy shortly after breast cancer will increase the risk of relapse.

Consult your doctor.

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