Detecting cancer in a pregnant woman is nothing but shattering. More than medicines she needs emotional support because being pregnant is one of the greatest joys a woman can experience. You have a life inside you and you are going to be looking after someone who is going to be emotionally, physically and completely dependent on you. This creates a sense of fascination. When such a beautiful experience is broken by the onset of something as bad as cancer, it can be the worst thing ever.
Cancer is emotionally taxing and combining it with something as special as pregnancy makes it the hardest thing someone has to ever go through. Imagine being able to finally give birth and finding out that you might be dying soon. It can kill you, emotionally wreck you and have you plunge into the depths of depression.
How is the treatment for pregnant women with cancer?
When people who are blind to the problems that come with pregnant women getting cancer, they might just preach about how the treatment should be the same for them as it is for other women affected by the disease, however this is not the case. When it comes to pregnant women getting cancer treatment, it becomes extremely hard and the procedure is very different. It is hard because a lot of the oncology pregnancy medicine cannot be administered to the women, for the sheer reason of it being harmful to the foetus and because of long term complications for the baby once it’s exposed to these drugs and the harmful radiations.
When it comes to the decision about treating cancer during pregnancy, it should come with an entire list of pros and cons and a complete analysis of the kinds of risks and benefits associated with the surgery. There is no data to tell you how terminating a pregnancy (i.e., abortion) changes the entire biological behaviour of the prognosis of the patient and the tumor in the presence of a proper antineoplastic therapy.
What should you tell your patient?
- Every patient should be given proper advice. Nothing should be sugar-coated and everything must be raw, no matter how brutal. It is important that the patient knows that there is not a lot of scientific data to determine any proper consensus.
- Although the rationality of the physician is important, what is more important than this is the patient’s decision for her child and herself. The will of the patient must be given due respect and no moral judgement on the part of the physician should colour her decisions.
- A woman can undergo proper active treatment so that she can maintain her pregnancy if she wants. This should come with active consultations with her doctor on day to day basis. It is important that the doctor is a specialist in the particular type of cancer the lady has. This will help them to guide the patient actively through the process and tell them about the therapies being currently used for that particular cancer in pregnancy. They even give you immunology in pregnancy medicine.
Most of these cancers related to pregnancy are breast cancer, melanoma, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer and Hodgkin’s disease.