Cancer during pregnancy is not something that is commonly heard of. In fact many health care providers are confused on how to deal with cancer during this critical juncture. More and more women are continuing or receiving treatment for cancer during the stage of pregnancy. According to oncology pregnancy medicine there is more information about people living with pregnancy during this phase.
It is found out that cancer rarely affects the growing baby. But when you are affected with cancer during pregnancy it does pose a significant challenge to both the mother along with the health team. In this regard it is important to come across a health care provider who has relevant experience in dealing with pregnant women.
The treatment of cancer during pregnancy
Important decisions are to be made with regards to cancer treatment during pregnancy. You would need to compare the best in terms of options and then analyse the risks it is going to pose to the developing baby as well. The treatment recommendations tends to vary based on the following factors
- The status of pregnancy you normally find yourself at
- The stage, type along with location of the cancer
- The wishes of the woman and the family
The treatment should be planned in such a manner so that the mother along with the unborn baby is safe. When treatment is being provided you would need to work with a multi-disciplinary team. In this team there are specialists and this does include cancer doctors. The team can monitor the mother during the course of pregnancy and find out whether the baby is safe during the period of treatment.
There are some treatments that could cause damage to the fetus and this is in the first 3 months of pregnancy. At such point the health care provider is likely to delay the treatment till the second or the third trimester. If the cancer is found in the latter stage of pregnancy the health care provider is likely to wait till the baby is being born. If it is a case of cervical cancer, the doctors may need to wait till the baby is being born. This is pretty much a situation by which you treat medications for infections in pregnancy as it needs to be nipped in the bud before it goes on to become too harsh.
There are some forms of treatment like radiation therapy that can harm the developing baby at all semesters. The onus is on the health care provider to avoid this form of treatment during pregnancy. In this course of treatment high range x rays are used to destroy cancer cells. The risk that is posed to the baby is dependent upon the type of cancer and the risk that is posed to the developing baby.
It is during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, the doctor can go on to provide various types of chemotherapy that may cause a lot of damage to the developing baby. Some of the drugs cannot pass through the placenta.