Healthy Child after Accidental Pregnancy during Radiotherapy for Cancer Treatment
By Ramadhani Chambuso
In 2009, a 27-year-old woman gave birth to a healthy child after an unintended pregnancy during cancer treatment for stage II lymphoma, following several cycles of chemo and radiation therapy without even abdominal shielding.
Earlier, her physician advised to terminate the pregnancy, but she decided to continue with it after contacting a teratology information service for further information regarding the risks of radiation exposure for her fetus.
Although the available information on radiation-induced embryonic damage in humans is mainly extrapolated from animal studies and follow-up of individuals exposed to atomic bomb radiation effects in Japan, to date, this case still gives special interests for scientists to re-evaluate the required dose for radiation teratogenic effects on fetal development.
Furthermore, women do occasionally conceive during radiotherapy for oncologic diseases, however, many physicians advise patients to terminate pregnancies for fear of the high risk of teratology from radiation adverse effects.
Therefore, this practical evidence reflects the need for further evaluations on chemo-radiation dose-effect relationship for embryogenesis.