Pregnant women and breast cancer — the good news

October 4, 2010

It is a widely held belief both by the public and the medical profession that women treated for breast cancer while pregnant will have a worse outcome than women who are not pregnant. Now the good news is that with current treatment such women do in fact have an improved rate of disease-free survival and a trend for improved overall survival.

This research has been done by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and presented at the 2010 Breast Cancer Symposium. The researchers put it down to the fact that previous treatment for pregnant breast cancer patients meant they were not always given the standard of care chemotherapy available. Another factor is that they also often refused or delayed their therapy until after delivery due to a belief that it could be harmful for their unborn child.

Certainly we know that chemotherapy, although designed to kill cancer cells, can be damaging to the body and the immune system so their fears were realistic and not unfounded. However, more recent studies have shown that since 1992 a chemotherapy regimen was deemed safe for both the mother and unborn child.

The reasons for the disease-free and overall survival discrepancy are still unknown according to their chief researcher, who stated that understanding their findings is of research priority. What I wonder though, is whether they haven’t missed a very basic and vital factor when considering the mortality rate of pregnant women with breast cancer. That is the human will, and a powerful desire to stay alive for the unborn child.

I have written much on our ability to heal ourselves through our own attitude as much as the health care regimes that we adopt and I would have thought that protecting the life of a child, through preserving the health of the mother, was one of the most powerful motivating factors for a woman that you could find.

We know that our thoughts influence our physical responses; positive thoughts produce a different balance of hormones and chemicals in the body than do negative ones.

Belief and Cancer Care
Whether pregnant or not, anyone dealing with cancer in any form is well advised to consider their own state of mind alongside any treatment they are taking. I have mentioned before the music by Sulis, used and researched by the Bristol Cancer clinic, to help reduce blood pressure and anxiety and promote calmness in their patients and families.

I make no apologies for repeating it, as it is an invaluable aid for anyone wanting to promote a more calm and healthy state of mind and you will find it on this website – together with more information on that research.
The album that I listen to constantly from Sulis is called Chameleon and you can listen to tracks from it on their website.


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