Dr. William Creasman discusses whether pregnancy hormones cause breast cancer to grow.
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Do pregnancy hormones cause cancer cells to grow? This was based to a certain degree going back 50 years ago when it was thought if women had a breast cancer developing probably you’re pregnant that because of a high level of hormones caused by the pregnancy it will make the cancer grow much faster and was very bad. In fact, the lead breast cancer surgeon back in that point of time made the same that he would need to operate on this patient because the prognosis so poor. Well, we have subsequently found out that in fact if you correct for age, if you correct for stage there is absolutely no difference between those who are not pregnant and got breast cancer versus those who were pregnant and got breast cancer. The problem with pregnancy and breast cancer is that these are aged women that we normally don’t screen with mammograms and because of breast increases in size because of the pregnancy is just much harder to find a mass if you will or a lump during pregnancy. The other thought was that if a woman had a breast cancer she should never under any circumstances have a subsequent pregnancy for the same reason. The high level to the hormones will cause the dormant cancer if you will to start growing. We know that through some of the case. In fact, there are some studies that show if they got pregnant after a breast cancer they have a better survival than those who did not. Now there is a biased issue or retrospective studies and obviously a woman who wants a subsequent pregnancy she might say, somebody might tell her there is an increase if you have a recurrent. She says, “I don’t care.” I want another pregnancy.” So that’s her decision and so there are some other circumstances that you can correct when you start looking statistically.