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Pregnancy in women with a history of breast cancer

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 25 January 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:166
  1. Emily Banks, associate professor (,
  2. Gillian Reeves, staff scientist2
  1. 1National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, ACT 0200, Australia
  2. 2Cancer Research UK Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7LF

    The effect of pregnancy on survival and the best time to conceive are uncertain, so consideration of individual priorities is essential

    Young women diagnosed with breast cancer before completing their families face difficult decisions about future childbearing. Effective treatment tends to reduce fertility, and uncertainties remain regarding the effect of future pregnancy on survival. For women who decide that they do want to become pregnant, the optimal timing of conception is not known.

    A population based study by Ives and colleagues in this week's BMJ assesses the effect of becoming pregnant on survival after breast cancer.1 The study used the Western Australian data linkage system to identify 123 women aged 15-44 who became pregnant after being diagnosed with breast cancer. During a median of 10.7 years of follow-up, 39% experienced recurrent breast cancer and 15% died.1

    The study shows that pregnancy is uncommon after breast cancer; only 4.8% of women aged 15-44 diagnosed with breast cancer became pregnant during the study period and 2.6% had a live birth.1 The study adds to the limited body of evidence showing that women with …

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