World Bulletin / News Desk
The number of pregnant women diagnosed with cancer has increased over the past couple of decades, according to an Australian study that said it was perhaps due in part to the older age of expectant mothers as well as better cancer detection methods.
Researchers whose results appeared in the obstetrics and gynecology journal BJOG said that in 2007, 192 out of every 100,000 pregnant and postpartum women received a cancer diagnosis - up from 112 per 100,000 women in 1994.
"Pregnancy-associated cancers have increased, and this increase is only partially explained by increasing maternal age," wrote Christine Roberts, an obstetrics researcher at the University of Sydney who worked on the study.
"Pregnancy increases women's interaction with health services and the possibility for diagnosis, but may also influence tumour growth."
Roberts said that some doctors in her department had seen a few cases of expectant mothers with cancer and wanted to know whether this was indicative of any increase in risk.
Her group collected information from three large databases on births, cancer cases and hospital admissions in New South Wales, Australia. That included data on roughly 780,000 women who gave birth more than 1.3 million times between 1994 and 2008.
During the same period, there were about 1,800 new cancers diagnosed in mothers-to-be and those who'd given birth within the last year.
As diagnoses became more common over the years, pregnant women also got older on average, the researchers said.
In 1994, 13 percent of pregnant women were over age 35, compared to almost 24 percent in 2007.
The risk of cancer is known to increase with age, and women over 35 were over three times more likely to get cancer compared to those under 30 in 2007.
But age only accounted for a fraction of the increased cancer risk over time.
Lloyd Smith, who treats gynecologic cancers at the University of California, Davis, agreed that improved detection likely accounts for some portion of the increase in cases.
He pointed out that melanoma was the most common cancer diagnosed, affecting 45 out of every 100,000 pregnant or postpartum women - and Australia claims the highest rate of melanoma diagnoses in the world, meaning that detection methods have probably been ramped up.
Researchers said that despite the increase in cancer risk, cancer still remains rare among pregnant or postpartum women - but that treatment presents special problems.
"When you have a pregnant woman who has cancer, the infant's at risk, the woman's at risk, the family is in extreme distress and they're seeking the best advice, which is often confused because no one knows quite what to do," Smith said.
There were some 216 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2016, an increase of five million from the year before, according to the World Health Organization.
Cataract surgeries project to be expanded in scope to include fight against fistula
Turkey to create an automatic control system to keep records of African patients, Health Ministry official says
Ibb and al-Hodeidah provinces are the hardest-hit by the disease
Association of the Friends of Africa provides health and humanitarian services all over the African continent
Food and Agriculture Organization representative praises professionalism of Turkish government
People will move from vulnerable to more viable areas within their countries, report says
The conference opened hours after the United Nations issued its 2018 World Water Development Report warning that about 3.6 billion people, or half the world's population, already live in areas where water can be scarce at least one month a year.
While it is generally accepted that being overweight increases a person's disease risk, some researchers have recently suggested that carrying extra weight does not actually boost death rates for some, particularly the elderly.
29,000 ducks will be culled by Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority
After a top court last month ruled driving bans in some city zones for the most polluting diesel vehicles were legal, German commuters, politicians, environmentalists and the mighty car industry have been exchanging blows over potential blanket exclusions.
South Africa has experienced worst outbreak of Listeriosis in history with 180 deaths recorded
Cholera outbreak has killed at least 88 people since last October
New analysis finds almost half of American teenage girls were obese and more than 14 percent of boys aged 2 to 5
Tens of thousands of people have fled an upsurge of fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo this year, many of them arriving weak and unwell at Ugandan camps that are struggling to accommodate them.
CDC flu season update reveals season appears to have peaked in 13 states