Having children after breast cancer.

Abstract

Having children after breast cancer is an important clinical issue. Evidence from clinical studies on pregnancy subsequent to breast cancer has not shown a survival disadvantage. Clinical experience suggests that desire for children, support from family, and quality of life issues are also important factors in decisions about pregnancy. This qualitative study was done (1) to identify reasons why young women decide to become pregnant after breast cancer; (2) to describe concerns about subsequent pregnancy; (3) to describe helpful behaviors in decision making; and (4) to explore the meaning of having children after breast cancer. Twenty-three women were identified who had early-stage breast cancer and became pregnant after breast-conserving surgery and radiation therapy. Sixteen women participated in a semi-structured interview. Qualitative data were analyzed for content. Results indicate that pregnancy subsequent to breast cancer is a powerful stimulus for young women to "get well" again. Reasons for subsequent pregnancy were related to the women's developmental age. Young women expressed concerns about the potential for future disease recurrence, about breast self-examination and mammography during pregnancy, and about surviving to see their children grow up. Perceived helpful behaviors included developing a realistic perspective, living with uncertainty, love and support of spouse, and delineating differences between personal and medical decision making.

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@article{Dow1994HavingCA, title={Having children after breast cancer.}, author={Karen Hassey Dow}, journal={Cancer practice}, year={1994}, volume={2 6}, pages={407-13} }