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Study finds increased pregnancy risk for young cancer survivors

A new study by the University of North Carolina's School of Global Public Health has found that women who survived when they were young had an increased risk of suffering complications during pregnancy.

The study focused on over 15,000 births to teenage girls aged 15 to 20 and young women aged 20 to 39, all living in North Carolina. The researchers compared the pregnancy complication rates between the 2,600 births to the women who had survived cancer to the almost 13,000 births to women who didn't have a history of the disease.

The pregnancy complications included preterm births, low birth weight babies and cesarean delivery. The rate of preterm births for cancer survivors was 13 percent and 9 percent for those women who had no history of cancer. Women who had cancer diagnosed during pregnancy had the highest risks. The type of cancer also played a role in the increased risk. Preterm birth risk was three time higher for women who had gynecologic cancer, two times highers for those women who survived non-Hodgkin lymphoma and breast cancer and 60 percent higher for those who had survived Hodgkin lymphoma.

The study's author said in a news release for the university that woman who had chemotherapy had a higher risk to deliver preterm. Another physician said that it really isn't surprising that cancer survivors have a higher risk of complications during pregnancy because of the effects cancer treatments can have.

Another physician said, "Close monitoring in pregnancy can result in improved outcomes. Women who are diagnosed with cancer in pregnancy already face adversity. By monitoring for potentially adverse events, it may be possible to prevent harming the growing fetus."

For women who have survived cancer, it is important to make sure your obstetrician is aware of all the specifics in your care.

If you or a family member has suffered a pregnancy-related injury or birth injury, you may have cause to seek compensation. an experienced attorney can help you understand your legal options.

Source: wxow.com, "Young cancer survivors can face higher risk of pregnancy complications," March 29, 2017

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