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MONDAY, Aug. 11, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- There's no increase in the risk of death if a woman conceives and delivers a baby after she's diagnosed with breast cancer.
That's the claim of a study in the Sept. 15 issue of Cancer that appears online on Aug. 11.
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center compared death rates among 438 women with breast cancer who had children after their diagnosis and 2,775 women with breast cancer who didn't have children after being diagnosed with cancer. All the women were younger than age 45.
The median follow-up time for the women after delivery ranged from four to nine years.
Women who had children at least 10 months after their breast cancer diagnosis actually had a decreased risk of death compared to women who did not have children, the study says.
Despite that, the researchers say that finding should not be seen as an indication that pregnancy offers a protective effect.
The study also found an increased risk of death among subgroups of women who were pregnant when they were diagnosed with breast cancer. These subgroups included women who delivered babies within three months of their cancer diagnosis, those 35 years or older at diagnosis, and those with certain disease characteristics.
The authors note their finding of a decreased risk of death in women who gave birth 10 or more months after being diagnosed with breast cancer is similar to findings of some previous studies.
Here's where you can learn more about breast cancer.