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Cancer During Pregnancy

Physicians affiliated with Women's Memorial Hermann Hospital and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center work closely with maternal-fetal medicine specialists at the Texas Fetal Center to treat cancer during pregnancy for Houston-area women.

Cancer during pregnancy is not uncommon with about 1 of 1,000 pregnant women per year diagnosed with a new malignancy in the United States. Cancers most frequently detected in the 15 to 34 year age group include:

  • malignant melanoma
  • breast cancer
  • leukemia
  • cervical cancer
  • central nervous system cancers
  • non-Hodgkin lymphoma

With many women delaying childbearing into later years, cancers such as lung, colorectal, and ovarian may be identified.

Treatment

Treating pregnant women with cancer requires special considerations since there are two patients involved, the mother and the fetus.

Management of cancer during pregnancy is a multidisciplinary approach. The maternal-fetal medicine specialists at the Center work closely with colleagues at MD Anderson Cancer Center to ensure the best care for you and your baby.

Some women will need chemotherapy. The physicians and genetic counselors at the Center will review the risks of the chemotherapeutic agents with you.

The physicians at the Center will work with the other specialists and with the MD Anderson Cancer Center to carefully monitor your treatment and your pregnancy. Our goal is to provide the best possible treatment and a complete understanding of your condition so that you and your family can make the best possible decisions for you and your baby.

Complications

Potential pregnancy complications may include fetal growth delay, preterm labor, preterm rupture of the membranes, preterm birth, and maternal complications such as infection and anemia. Additional blood tests and imaging (ultrasound, CT scans, MRI) may be needed during pregnancy.