Childhood Cancer Survivors At Greater Risk Of Pregnancy Complications

By Olivia Etienne, Parent Herald April 27, 10:41 pm
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Childhood cancer survivors are more likely to have diabetes, high-blood pressure and anemia during pregnancy. PICTURED: Frauke Petry, head of the Alternative fuer Deutschland (Alternative for Germany, or AfD) right-wing, populist political party, touches his pregnant belly during the AfD election campaign launch event for state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia on April 8, 2017 in Essen, Germany
(Photo : Lukas Schulze/Getty Images)

Experts concurred that childhood cancer survivors were more likely to suffer pregnancy or labor complications due to radiologic treatment. The United Kingdom-based research provided new information on the possible complications that survivors may encounter during child-bearing.

Researchers at Center for Childhood Studies at the University of Bingham found that cancer survivors have higher chances of developing diabetes, high-blood pressure and anemia during pregnancy. The team looked into 2,783 singleton pregnancies, 1,712 of which were of childhood cancer survivors, Reuters reported.

Survivors who received abdominal radiation treatment were more likely to develop diabetes during pregnancy. Researchers found they were twice as susceptible of anemia.

Experts also found that Wilms tumor survivors who received radiologic treatment were thrice at risk of developing high-blood pressure. In addition, survivors of this rare childhood cancer became at risk for either abdominal or pelvic radiation exposure.

The new research also provided new information on the possible complications that await childhood cancer survivors. Earlier research already identified diabetes and high-blood pressure, but anemia was a new entry to the risks that loom for these survivors. 

Most of the subjects in the study, who were diagnosed with tumors by age 14, had either leukemia, central nervous tumors or Wilms tumors. The average age they delivered their babies was 29-years-old.

Moreover, it is possible that these treatments deliver complications because it damages the kidney, leading to anemia and high-blood pressure. The pancreas is also damaged due to radiation exposure, thereby increasing chances of diabetes.

Lead researcher of the study, Raoul Reulen, said in an e-mail that it's important for survivors to be aware of the looming complications brought by cancer treatment. They advised survivors to disclose their history upon conceiving a child.

Cancer history is a high-risk case of pregnancy, according to Summa Health. Experts suggest that high-risk pregnancies as such should follow necessary tests and adjust medications for a healthy pregnancy.

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