USA – New abortion laws jeopardize cancer treatment for pregnant patients

Cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy can be toxic to a developing fetus or cause birth defects.

September 24, 2022
By Charlotte Huff, Kaiser Health News

As abortion bans go into effect across a contiguous swath of the South, cancer physicians are wrestling with how new state laws will influence their discussions with pregnant patients about what treatment options they can offer.

Cancer coincides with roughly 1 in 1,000 pregnancies, most frequently breast cancer, melanoma, cervical cancer, lymphomas, and leukemias. But medications and other treatments can be toxic to the developing fetus or cause birth defects. In some cases, hormones that are supercharged during pregnancy fuel the cancer’s growth, putting the patient at greater risk.