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Induced Abortion Rates Not Up for Childhood Cancer Survivors

MONDAY, Jan. 25, 2021 -- Childhood cancer survivors (CCSs) have a reduced likelihood for first pregnancy but are not more likely to have induced abortions, according to a study published online Jan. 25 in Cancer.

Johanna M. Melin, M.D., Ph.D., from the Finnish Cancer Registry in Helsinki, and colleagues examined the risk for induced abortion among CCSs who were 0 to 14 years at diagnosis in 1971 to 2012. A total of 420 first pregnancies of CCSs were identified and compared to 2,508 first pregnancies of age-matched population controls in 1987 to 2013.

The researchers found that compared with population controls, the likelihood of first pregnancy was reduced in CCSs (relative risk, 0.72; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.64 to 0.80), but the likelihood of a first pregnancy resulting in induced abortion was comparable for CCSs and controls (relative risk, 1.01; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.77 to 1.33). The risk for induced abortions was similar for CCSs and controls in subanalyses stratifying by decade of diagnosis and cancer treatment.

"Our results suggest that female CCSs who are able to become pregnant are as willing as their peers to continue the pregnancy and become parents," the authors write. "The overall reduced probability of pregnancy highlights the persisting need for interventions to preserve the fertility of childhood cancer patients at the time of cancer diagnosis."

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Posted: January 2021

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