Understanding and reducing risks in mothers who have survived cancer treatment

INSTITUTION: University of Bristol, University College London, University of Birmingham
RESEARCHERS: Dr Melanie Griffin, Dr Katherine Birchenall, Professor Anna David, Dr Melanie Davies, Dr Victoria Grandage, Dr Raoul Reulen, Professor Michael Hawkins

Evidence suggests that women who have had cancer treatment as a child or young adult are more likely to experience problems during pregnancy, including an increased risk or their babies being born prematurely.

In a project funded jointly by Borne and Action Medical Research, Dr. Melanie Griffin of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust is looking at the long-term impact of cancer treatment involving bone marrow transplantation on women’s reproductive health. She hopes to identify new ways to improve care for these childhood cancer survivors before and during their pregnancy, reducing the chances of their babies being born too soon.

about the research

Thanks to improved survival and assisted fertility technologies like IVF, more women who had cancer treatment as a child or young adult are now able to have children. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that they are more likely to experience problems during pregnancy, including an increased risk of their babies being born prematurely.

With Borne and Action Medical Research funding, the team is working with the British Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation Data Registry and the British Childhood Cancer Survivor Study/Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Survivor Study to find out how many women experience problems or premature birth and the best way to keep these pregnant women healthy and protect their unborn babies during pregnancy.

Dr Griffin and her team hope to identify new ways to improve care for these cancer survivors before and during their pregnancy, reducing the chances of their babies being born too soon.

“We will make recommendations for changes to national guidelines relating to the care for women who have a history of bone marrow transplant and who become pregnant or wish to become pregnant in the future.”

– Dr Melanie Griffin

UPDATES & IMPACT

The team is making good progress and the next step is to analyse the data, present, and publish the findings.

The funding is also enabling the team to conduct a survey of doctors, via social media, to find out how these women are currently cared for. A prospective survey is also in progress with the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS).

Following the data analysis the team plan to meet with stakeholders, including the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, to present the findings and make suggestions for guidelines for improved care of these women and their unborn babies.

Stay Connected

Want to be the first to know about exciting research breakthroughs, upcoming events, and amazing fundraising feats? Sign up to our mailing list!

Subscribe
* indicates required
*

We will occasionally keep in touch with you by post, but we’d also like to keep in touch in other ways, if you are happy for us to.