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    Does pregnancy negatively impact breast cancer survival?

    According to results of a new study in JAMA Oncology, women who become pregnant around the time of a breast cancer diagnosis or following such a diagnosis may not have worse survival chances than those with the disease who do not become pregnant.

    Researchers reviewed information in health administrative databases from Ontario, Canada from January 2013 to December 2014, which covered 7553 women aged 20 to 45 years at the time of their diagnosis of invasive breast cancer. Exposure was considered any pregnancy in the period from 5 years before the index date of the diagnosis of breast cancer until 5 years after. The women were then classified into 4 exposure groups: no pregnancy, pregnancy before breast cancer, pregnancy-associated breast cancer, and pregnancy following breast cancer.

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    Among the women in the study (mean age at diagnosis, 39.1 years; median, 40 years; range, 20-44 years), the 5-year actuarial survival rate was 87.5% for those with no pregnancy (95% confidence interval [CI], 86.5%-88.4%); 85.3% for women with pregnancy before their breast cancer diagnosis (age-adjusted hazard ratio, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.85-1.27; P = .73); and 82.1% for women with pregnancy-associated breast cancer (age-adjusted hazard ratio, 1.18; 95% CI, 0.91-1.53; P = .20). For women who had a pregnancy 6 months or more following a breast cancer diagnosis, the 5-year actuarial survival rate was 96.7% (95% CI, 94.1%-99.3%).

    The researchers concluded that pregnancy did not have an adverse impact on survival in women with breast cancer. For women with a breast cancer diagnosis, the risk of death is lowest when pregnancy occurs 6 months or more following diagnosis.

    NEXT: How many women have no access to fertility services?

    Judith M. Orvos, ELS
    Judith M. Orvos, ELS, is a a BELS-certified medical writer and editor and an editorial consultant for Contemporary OB/GYN.
    Miranda Hester
    Ms. Hester is Content Specialist with Contemporary OB/GYN and Contemporary Pediatrics.

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