Pregnancy During Diagnosis or Treatment
Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ACNS-BC, OCN , FAAN
Unusual, but does occur.
The body of literature on pregnancy during cancer treatment is sparse. Frederic Amant, MD from the University Hospitals Leuven in Belgium used data from the International Network for Cancer Infertility and Pregnancy (INCIP) to identify women who became pregnant around the time of cancer diagnosis or during treatment. The INCIP database currently includes 1,011 patients from 21 countries, and at the time of Amant’s study, it included 897 patients.
Overall, 3.23% (29/897) of the women in the database became pregnant soon after a cancer diagnosis or during treatment. Of those 29 patients, three pregnancies were identified during diagnostic examinations for suspected malignancy but before definite diagnosis, 18 were identified during treatment, and seven were identified after diagnosis of cancer but before treatment was started. Amant concluded that it is essential that discussions about contraception during cancer treatment occur, and in addition, whenever possible, women of child-bearing potential should be advised to use contraception while being worked-up for a possible cancer diagnosis. Amant presented his findings at the 2014 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress in Madrid and the press release may be found here.