Survivors of childhood cancer face a high risk of having birth defects in babies when pregnant, a new study has said.
Dr. Sharon Lie Fong, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Erasmus MC University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and colleagues studied data on the pregnancies of 40 women who had been treated for cancer during their childhood, the majority of them for leukaemia, but also for solid tumours. Six had had radiation treatment directly to the abdomen.
The data were compared with those from a control group of more than 9,000 women who had not had cancer treatment.
All data were obtained from The Netherlands Perinatal Register, a nationwide database of pregnancy outcomes. Data were matched for age at pregnancy, year and month of delivery, and the number of times the woman had given birth.
"This is the first such study on pregnancy outcome in childhood cancer survivors as compared with normal, healthy women," said Dr. Lie Fong.
"Although we found no differences between most of the survivors and the control group, the women treated with abdominal radiotherapy delivered more prematurely. These women also had more postpartum haemorrhages - the loss of more than one litre of blood after delivery," Dr. Lie Fong added.
The study has been presented at the 25th annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology heard today (Wednesday 1 July).