Understanding pregnancy after breast cancer

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 57 , No. 6 , July August 2015 , Pages 255 News

Rethink Breast Cancer, a registered Canadian charity, is raising awareness and funding for the Canadian research arm (Baby Time) of the international POSITIVE clinical trial to understand and overcome the challenges some women face when trying to get pregnant after cancer. The trial will evaluate the pregnancy outcomes and safety of interrupting endocrine therapy for young women with ER+ breast cancer who desire pregnancy.

Drugs administered during cancer treatment and in the adjuvant setting can have adverse effects on a woman’s reproductive system. The study will investigate what will happen if young women take a break in their hormonal treatment to try to conceive naturally.

Most hormone-responsive breast cancer patients follow up adjuvant treatment with 5 to 10 years of endocrine therapy to reduce the chances of recurrence. While chemotherapy can put young women into early menopause, limiting their fertility, endocrine therapy can impact the ovaries as well as carry associated risks to a growing fetus.

Research associated with the risk of pregnancy after breast cancer is limited. The study will provide oncologists and other physicians data to be able to inform a woman about the possible risks.

More than 60 breast cancer centres in 20 countries are participating in the international study, and Rethink has committed to funding the Canadian research arm, led by Dr Karen Gelmon, co-chair of the NCIC Clinical Trials Group Breast Site Committee and medical oncologist with the Department of Medical Oncology, BC Cancer Agency.

Rethink Breast Cancer has committed to raising $100 000 to cover the costs of each patient entered into the study over 4 years (each patient will be followed for up to 10 years) and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the initial $15 000 required to enter the first patients into the study in 2015. To learn more about the study, visit rethinkbreastcancer.com.

. Understanding pregnancy after breast cancer. BCMJ, Vol. 57, No. 6, July, August, 2015, Page(s) 255 - News.

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