Wednesday December 19, 2018

Breast Cancer Survivors Can Safely enter Motherhood: Experts

However, it would be advisable to wait for two years post-treatment to check for an early recurrence.

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Pregnancy, Breast Cancer
Pregnancy is safe for breast cancer survivors: Experts Flickr
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Breast cancer, the most prevalent cancer among Indian women, cannot deter motherhood, if intervention takes place at the right moment, say health experts. According to them, pregnancy is possible for women survivors of breast cancer — it does not increase risk of recurrence and neither does it cause any harm to the baby.

“Yes, pregnancy is possible for breast cancer patients. Currently there is no reason or evidence to believe that becoming pregnant after treatment for breast cancer can cause any risk to the mother or the baby,” Upasna Saxena, Consultant (Radiation Oncology), at Mumbai’s HCG Cancer Centre, told IANS.

“It is possible for women to continue with their pregnancy even while diagnosed with breast cancer and take treatments tailored to the stage of their pregnancy concurrently. They can go on to deliver healthy babies,” added Kanchan Kaur, Associate Director, Cancer Institute at Medanta in Gurugram.

Breast Cancer
Chemists develop unique disease-fighting ‘nano-grenades’. VOA

However, for some even “natural pregnancy is possible,” Kaur stated.

In a striking case from the hospital, Paula, 33, from Rwanda, conceived naturally and delivered a healthy baby five years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, the doctor said.

Paula was at high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer in 2013. She completed four years of hormone blockade treatment, which blocks the action of Estrogen Receptor (ER) on breast cancer cells. Pregnancy is not advisable whilst on this treatment.

Although she had her eggs frozen before she started her chemotherapy, she conceived naturally and delivered a healthy baby after the treatment stopped.

In another case from HCG, a patient who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 27 and treated in 2007 opted for breast conservation, against a full masectomy — and delivered a healthy baby boy in 2013.

Pregnancy, air pollution, Breast Cancer
Other breast cancer treatments, such as hormone therapy, targeted therapy and radiation therapy, are more likely to harm the baby and are usually shunned during pregnancy. Flickr

“Previously, there were concerns over increased risk of cancer recurrence in women who contemplate pregnancy, but it’s good news that studies show no such higher risk in women who conceive as compared to women who do not conceive,” Saxena said.

In yet another case, also from HCG, a patient treated for breast cancer in her late 30s conceived and delivered a healthy baby — but 2.5 years after her treatment. She had a history of seven miscarriages.

“However, it is not a blanket statement for all breast cancer patients. It depends on the age of the patient. And while deciding about pregnancy, it is important to consider and talk to the patient about her age, family size and type of breast cancer (aggressiveness and risk of recurrence),” Saxena noted.

According to a report from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India had 14 lakh cancer patients in 2016 and this number is expected to increase.

“Breast cancer is currently the most common cancer among Indian women, both in terms of incidence as well as mortality, with proportional prevalence in younger age-groups being higher than the global average.”

Pregnancy, Breast Cancer
A nurse holds the hand of a premature baby, who was born at five months of pregnancy, at a hospital in Medellin, Colombia. VOA

“The age standardised rate is approximately 25.8 per one lakh women and is expected to rise to 35 per one lakh women in 2026,” the report stated.

Pregnancy after breast cancer does not increase a woman’s risk of a relapse.

According to the American Cancer Society, surgery for breast cancer is generally safe in pregnancy while chemotherapy seems to be safe for the baby only if given in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, not in the first trimester.

Other breast cancer treatments, such as hormone therapy, targeted therapy and radiation therapy, are more likely to harm the baby and are usually shunned during pregnancy.

“The risk could be the need for caesarean section, premature baby and low birth weight baby (vis-a-vis women with no history of breast cancer treatment),” Saxena said.

“There is, by no means, any increase in the chances of birth defects or deformities in the baby or increased risk of cancer in the baby (unless it is a cancer due to genetic mutation which can be transmitted to the baby).

Breast Cancer
Breast cancer cell, Wikimedia Commons

“There may be difficulty in breast-feeding post surgery and radiation, but it is still possible with probable lower milk production on the treated side,” Saxena explained.

However, it would be advisable to wait for two years post-treatment to check for an early recurrence.

Also Read: Managing Weight During Pregnancy May Affect Child’s Bone Health

Kaur suggested that young women diagnosed with breast cancer need to be made aware about the methods to preserve fertility prior to starting treatment.

“Their ova (eggs) can be harvested (as is done for patients undergoing IVF) and preserved for future implantation either in the treated patient or a surrogate,” she explained. (IANS)

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Survey Shows That Only 2 Per Cent Women Play Lead Roles in Tech Teams

For the survey, HackerEarth surveyed over 1000 women from 35 countries holding technology positions in various organisations

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More evidence that most men have NO IDEA how women think
Only 2 per cent women promoted to lead tech teams: Survey. pixabay

Despite an increase in the number of women excelling in the tech world, women still remain highly underrepresented with just 2 per cent being promoted to leadership roles, a survey revealed on Monday.

The survey titled “Women in Technology 2018: Breaking Gender Barriers” conducted by HackerEarth, an innovation management and talent assessment company, explored the state of women technologists across the globe and the challenges faced by them in the workplace.

It shows that only one-third of all tech teams comprised of women, demonstrating a stark disparity in the number of women employed by tech organisations.

Despite 86 per cent of the study respondents having a formal degree in computer science, most experienced a stagger in their career growth, and only 2 per cent could make it to the top roles.

“While the number of women graduating in CS has been on a steady rise, when it comes to career growth, the numbers are staggeringly low,” Vivek Prakash, CTO and Co-Founder, HackerEarth, said in a statement.

iPad Neck Pain More Common Among Women Than MeniPad Neck Pain More Common Among Women Than Men
Representational image. Pixabay

“Implementing policies to support women in the workplace and providing them with training and resources will help reduce the high attrition rates we have observed amongst women technologists,” Prakash added.

In a bid to seek work with emerging technologies, flexibility as well as better pay, more than 50 per cent women developers were found to move to a new job.

Importantly, 50 per cent of the women technologists believed that “gendered wordings” in job adverts discouraged them from applying for technical positions.

Also Read- Google To Invest $1 Bn To Build New Offices

Solutions such as blind recruitments, building family-oriented policies, and upskilling opportunities will help women excel in their careers and reduce gender disparity in every organisation, the survey suggested.

For the survey, HackerEarth surveyed over 1000 women from 35 countries holding technology positions in various organisations. (IANS)