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William J. Gradishar, MD, FACP, FASCO


Does a Live Birth After Treatment for Breast Cancer Affect a Woman’s Survival?

By: Julia Fiederlein
Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2022

Richard Anderson, MD, PhD, of the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, Edinburgh, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study to determine whether live birth after breast cancer may affect the chances of survival of the mother. The results were published in Human Reproduction and presented during the hybrid edition of the 2022 European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) Annual Meeting (Abstract O-196).

“This analysis shows that having a baby after breast cancer doesn’t have a negative impact on survival,” Dr. Anderson commented in an ESHRE press release. “It provides reassurance for the growing number of women who want to start or complete their families after breast cancer treatment.”

Using data from the Scottish Cancer Registry, the investigators identified 5,181 women younger than age 40 who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1981 and 2017; of this population, 290 had a live birth after diagnosis. Overall survival seemed to be increased in women who had a live birth after diagnosis (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.65). Those who had a first-time pregnancy after diagnosis showed increased survival (HR = 0.56); this did not seem to hold true in women who had a previous pregnancy (HR = 0.76). Stage I disease was not found to affect live birth after diagnosis (HR = 0.74); similar results were observed with stage II/III disease (HR = 0.71).

With younger age, there appeared to be progressively greater interaction between live birth after diagnosis and survival; the hazard ratios were 0.30, 0.58, 0.67, and 0.89 in women who were aged 20 to 25, 26 to 30, 31 to 36, and 36 to 39, respectively. Those who had a live birth within 5 years of diagnosis seemed to experience increased survival (HR = 0.66). Although fewer women had a live birth 5 or more years after diagnosis (n = 108 vs. 182), no clear effect on survival was observed (HR = 0.63).

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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