News: Pregnancy can mean delayed breast Ca diagnosis but similar survival stats

March 1, 2009

Although pregnancy may conceal breast cancer in younger women, survival statistics are similar.

Although pregnancy may conceal breast cancer in younger women and lead to a delay in diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment, pregnancy-associated breast cancers are not associated with a worse outcome compared to nonpregnancy-associated breast cancers, according to research published online Feb. 9 in Cancer.

Beth M. Beadle, MD, PhD, of The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues retrospectively reviewed breast cancer-related outcomes among women with pregnancy- and non-pregnancy-associated malignancies. A total of 652 women (aged 35 years or younger) were included, with a median follow-up of 114 months.

Compared to women with nonpregnancy-associated breast cancers, women with pregnancy-associated tumors did not significantly differ in their 10-year rates of locoregional recurrence (23.4% for women with pregnancy-associated tumors vs. 19.2% for women with nonpregnancy-associated tumors), distant metastases (45.1% vs. 38.9%) and overall survival (64.6% vs. 64.8%), the researchers report. In pregnant women, any treatment intervention taken during pregnancy improved the trend for overall survival compared with delaying treatment until after delivery, the authors note.