Cancer and pregnancy: Recent developments

Renée M. Ward, Robert E. Bristow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of review: Breast carcinoma, cervical dysplasia and cervical carcinoma are some of the most common forms of precancerous and malignant changes seen in pregnancy due to their prevalence in reproductive age women. The impact of pregnancy on these diseases is complex and needs to be carefully considered for appropriate clinical management. Recent findings: Recent studies indicate a relationship between hormone levels during pregnancy and subsequent breast cancer risk. For women who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer, retrospective studies show no adverse outcomes on maternal mortality with subsequent pregnancy. Prospective studies are needed to further elucidate these relationships. Recent research evaluating human papilloma virus in pregnant women indicates a similar prevalence of disease among pregnant and nonpregnant patients. Increased rates of human papilloma virus clearance postpartum may be related to an increased immune response within the cervix secondary to the trauma of labor. For women with early stage cervical cancer desiring to preserve future fertility, new trends in treatment allow for preservation of reproductive function. Few recent studies have been conducted regarding the use of chemotherapy during pregnancy, but one study reports increased rates of prematurity after the use of chemotherapy. Summary: Continued research is needed regarding the management of breast and cervical cancer during pregnancy in order to optimize treatments and to further our understanding of these disease processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-617
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2002


  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical neoplasic
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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