Pregnant women who develop breast cancer have no difference in odds of death compared to other young breast cancer patients, said a study published Monday in the journal Cancer.
The study is one of the largest to examine whether breast cancer hits pregnant women harder than other women. It contradicted some smaller, earlier studies that suggested maternity made things worse.
In the study, researchers analyzed data from 652 women ages 35 and younger who were treated for breast cancer at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center from 1973 through 2006.
The result showed that rates of cancer recurrence, cancer spread and survival were normally the same for the women with pregnancy-associated breast cancers and other young women with the disease.
"Breast cancer in young women is a highly aggressive disease, and it's important that we study it in hopes of making a difference in terms of treatment," said the study's lead author, Dr. Beth Beadle of the center.
It's estimated that up to 3.8 percent of pregnancies are complicated by breast cancer, and approximately 10 percent of breast cancer patients under age 40 develop the disease during pregnancy, said the researchers.
M. D. Anderson has a long history of being at the forefront of treating pregnant women for breast cancer.
(Agencies via Xinhua News Agency February 10, 2009)