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Defending a PhD: More Insight into Breast Cancer During Pregnancy

Defending a PhD: More Insight into Breast Cancer During Pregnancy

At diagnosis, pregnant women are more likely to have a larger tumor and a more aggressive type of breast cancer, which means the prognosis will be less good. This is evident from doctoral research conducted by medical oncologist Brett Swellman (UMC Utrecht).

Swellman examined the characteristics of breast tumors in 744 Dutch women who developed breast cancer during pregnancy or up to 6 months after childbirth. This data comes from a Dutch pathology database that stores information from women who received this diagnosis between 1988 and 2019.

Research shows that breast cancer during pregnancy is a different type of cancer than breast cancer in women who are not pregnant. There are two types of breast cancer that are more common in pregnant women: HER2-positive breast cancer and triple-negative breast cancer. Hormone-sensitive breast cancer – the most common form of breast cancer – is actually less common in pregnant women

Moreover, breast tumors detected in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy seem to have different characteristics and are more aggressive than those detected in the first trimester. The tumors of lactating women are also more aggressive. The survival of these groups is also worse. Suelmann received his Ph.D. from Utrecht University on March 29.


UMC Utrecht

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