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Posted by on Nov 16, 2013 in Breast cancer | 0 comments

Does pregnancy affect survival?

This study evaluated the effect of pregnancy on the survival of women with BRCA associated breast cancer.

Hereditary breast cancer (associated with a mutation in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene) typically presents itself in younger women. Consequently, the onset of breast cancer often overlaps with pregnancy. Pregnancy-associated breast cancer is defined as breast cancer diagnosed during pregnancy, or within one year of delivery. Pregnancy-associated breast cancer is often associated with poor outcomes due to high levels of hormones which stimulate cancer growth, enlarged and dense breasts that mask the presence of the cancer and may delay diagnosis, and delayed treatment to avoid the possibility of harming the fetus. For women diagnosed with cancer unrelated to pregnancy, most doctors recommend waiting at least a year after treatments have finished before getting pregnant in order to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. However, evidence to this effect is lacking. Furthermore, only a few studies to date have investigated breast cancer outcomes among pregnant women who carry a mutation in one of the BRCA genes. 

This study analyzed the medical records of women diagnosed with BRCA-associated breast cancer. 269 women with BRCA-associated breast cancer who were not pregnant acted as the control group. The outcomes of these women were compared to 128 women with BRCA-associated breast cancer who were pregnant at the time of diagnosis, or became pregnant shortly thereafter (within a year of finishing treatments). Of the 128 pregnant women, 58.6% had pregnancy-associated breast cancer, while 41.4% got pregnant following cancer treatments.

Among women who did not become pregnant, the 15-year survival rate was 88.6%. Among the128 pregnant women, the 15-year survival rate was 91.5 %. Further analysis showed that 15-year survival rates for women with pregnancy-associated breast cancer were 89.1%, compared to 93.6% for woman who got pregnant following breast cancer treatment.

This study concluded the prognosis of BRCA-associated breast cancer is not significantly affected by pregnancy. Both pregnancy-associated breast cancer, and pregnancy following breast cancer, are associated with a similar prognosis to breast cancer unrelated to pregnancy.   

This study included patients treated by a variety of therapies, which were not accounted for in the analysis of results. This may have influenced results to some degree.


Hi Sarah,

Good job. I did however make quite a few changes. Please remember that we want a fluent, easy to read, text. Like a short story. So please avoid bullet point formats (numbering reasons). In addition, the explanation of the trial groups in the results section was a bit confusing. How many patients were there in total? Who are the 128 case subjects? Were all participants BCRA positive?  Maybe also refrain from using the term case subjects (think as if you're talking to a patient). Another point, don't copy-paste from the abstract (i.e. "To date, there is little information on the survival experience of women who carry a mutation in one of the BRCA genes and who become pregnant."). We pay you to summarize, a trained monkey can copy-paste. 

Published By :

Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

Date :

Oct 18, 2013

Original Title :

The impact of pregnancy on breast cancer survival in women who carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

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