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Cancer and abortions

May 2012

Cancer and abortions

Pregnant women diagnosed with even aggressive forms of cancer no longer have to make an agonising decision between swift treatment and abortion.
    A series of studies in medical science journal the Lancet has revealed that, after the first three months of pregnancy, chemotherapy treatment does not harm the unborn child.
     It is believed that hundreds of pregnant women are diagnosed with cancer each year, many of whom opt for an abortion or risk their own lives by refusing treatment until they deliver the child.
    However, the Lancet report, from researchers at the Institute Gustave Roussy in France, said that while one in 2,000 pregnancies is affected by cancer — a rate increasing by 2.5 per cent a year — it was not always necessary to abort or delay treatment.
    In the report, researchers Philippe Morice, Catherine Uzan, and Serge Uzan of the department of gynaecologic surgery at the Institute, said, ‘Treatment of malignancy in pregnancy is still associated with unacceptable errors. For example, the sometimes unjustified termination of pregnancies or the choice of an inadequate strategy for treatment of a tumour with the risk of compromised survival’.
    However, they added: ‘Our research can facilitate cancer treatment and provide hope for mother and child in most cases. Most mothers feel stronger and are even more motivated to undergo the cancer treatment and its side effects, since she is fighting for her child as well’.

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