August 24, 2011
by Christina Luisa
August 24, 2011
In the world of medicine, the toxicity of chemotherapy drugs is widely known. They make your hair fall out, after all, and that’s on top of the muscle wasting, vomiting and overall health deterioration that chemo drugs admittedly produce. But now the insanity has reached a new low with doctors routinely prescribing chemotherapy drugs to pregnant women!
When a woman becomes pregnant, she is told to avoid alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, sushi and other conceivable risks to the fetus. Almost every single medication and supplement has warnings that pregnant women should consult a doctor before use.
The utmost of concern is taken to ensure the protection of the unborn child. So does it seem reasonable that researchers claim that exposing pregnant women to chemotherapy (a deadly treatment that kills living cells) does not APPEAR to affect the fetus?
Though still fairly rare (the rate of pregnancy associated cancer is about 1 in 1,000 pregnancies), the incidence of pregnancy associated breast cancer is quickly on the rise.
It is becoming more common that pregnant women with breast cancer or other forms of cancer are being treated with chemotherapy despite the potential danger this is to the life growing inside of them. Doctors have even told pregnant patients they will die within a short period of time if they don’t get chemotherapy, without informing them of more natural and safe options for treating their disease.
New data from researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center says that pregnant women treated for breast cancer supposedly do at least as well as non-pregnant women.
These results contradict earlier studies showing that outcomes were worse for pregnant women treated for breast cancer. Many doctors in the past have also recommended abortion, advising that chemotherapy could cause birth defects.
In a German study examining outcomes among 122 pregnant breast cancer patients, researchers concluded that pregnant patients can often be treated as aggressively as non-pregnant patients, with little evidence of ill effects to their babies.
These findings are said to prove that pregnant women who have breast cancer can be treated successfully without harming their babies. Abortion, the only other option that seems to be prevalently considered in cases of cancer during pregnancy is unnecessary.
Experts admit to being unsure about what is behind the new statistics but are apparently assuming the only important fact from the new research findings is the revelation that women treated while pregnant “do well.”
One more reason not to trust oncologists
Even if cancer is detected in early pregnancy, women are being advised that chemo is completely okay if it is put off until the second trimester, in order to minimize the risk of birth defects.
Studies have shown that the birth defect rate is as high as 20% when chemotherapy is given in the first trimester, but that this rate drops to around 1.3% when chemotherapy is given later in the pregnancy. This percentage is said to be on par with the national average.
Chemotherapy given after the first trimester “does not usually harm the fetus but may cause early labor and low birth weight.” Putting off chemo until the later trimesters is supposedly good reasoning because the first trimester is the most vulnerable period of a pregnancy, when vital organs are still forming.
However, what makes doctors and researchers think that this fact means the rest of the pregnancy does not also require extreme caution, especially when it comes to lethal drugs in large doses?
Pregnant patients are also recommended to receive the same drugs as non-pregnant patients in the same proportional doses according to weight. Chemotherapy treated patients usually get a combination of three drugs — fluorouracil, doxorubicin, and cyclophosphamide. However, it is clearly stated on Drugs.com that Doxorubicin can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman.
This type of barbaric cancer treatment and the potent drug regimen during pregnancy carries the possibility of having disastrous effects in many cases. How could this amount and form of toxicity possibly not have some sort of significant harm on the vulnerable cells developing into a tiny human within a mother’s womb?
Instead of referring pregnant women to natural cancer treatments that are entirely safe for their unborn children, oncologists are pushing them toward the “cure-all” of the corrupt cancer industry chemo. This means more money for them, but what about the children that will likely suffer due to the powerfully toxic treatments they were exposed to while in their mothers womb?
Questionable (uncertain) claims
It is being claimed by researchers, scientists, and doctors that chemotherapy has supposedly no detrimental effect on the fetus and that there is no increased risk of congenital defects in children who are exposed to chemotherapy during pregnancy.
The reasoning used for this is that the placenta acts “as a filter” for most of the products researched and “protects the fetus against the damaging effects of chemotherapy.”
New research is stating that some medications barely penetrate the placenta, while in cases of other drugs the same concentration is found in both the mother and fetus. Does this sound like convincing enough evidence that the fetus is protected from the harmful effects of chemo?
An article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology also claims chemotherapy administered to pregnant women during second or third trimesters for the treatment of breast cancer APPEARS safe for both the fetus and mother.
In fact, many of the articles published on similar research studies on chemotherapy during pregnancy claim that the dangerous treatment APPEARS safe for unborn children. This wording certainly sounds confident and sound.
Although it has been clinically proven chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause changes in germ cell DNA, most such changes are claimed to “not be viable, yielding only a slightly increased risk of birth defects.” Only a slightly increased risk? Really? Even a New York Times article clearly stated that “Contradictions abound about just how chemotherapy affects babies in utero.”
The same article mentions how the FDA has established 5 categories for the use of drugs during pregnancy, with category A the only unequivocally safe one. Most chemotherapeutic agents fall into category D, meaning there is clear evidence of risk to the fetus.
The study that started it all
In 1973, a senior researcher at the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social in Mexico City named Dr. Agustin Aviles saw his first pregnant patient with leukemia. This woman became the catalyst for his revolutionary study on the effects of chemo while pregnant and the first of 84 patients who received chemotherapy during pregnancy between 1973 and 2003 (58 of them during the first trimester).
All 84 had acute leukemia, advanced Hodgkin’s or malignant lymphoma and were told by doctors that putting off chemotherapy for even a few days could kill both them and the unborn children in their wombs.
Among all 84 cases in his study, every fetus survived and 5.8% of them had birth defects — most of which were reported to be supposedly minor. In a follow-up study, Aviles examined 43 children born to mothers who received chemo from 1970 to 1986.
The children’s ages ranged from 3 to 19 at the time of his assessment and all were recorded to have normal physical, neurological and psychological development. Because of this study and other more recent ones, doctors have been telling patients they don’t have to make a choice between their lives and the life of their baby.
Although Aviles found that only 5.8 % of the babies of mothers who had undergone chemo in the first trimester were born with defects, other studies have found defects in the 14 to 19 % range when chemo is given in the first trimester. Even during the second and third trimesters, chemo is not risk free. Some studies clearly indicate that chemotherapy increases the risk of stillbirth, low birth weight and retardation.
Pregnant chemo patients are taking a potentially dangerous gamble
Most of the problems described in the babies exposed to chemotherapy in this minor study were said by a doctor to not be related to the treatment, but were “most probably due to other circumstances.” These circumstances were not specified, however.
Some of the problems recorded in the study included: alopecia, trisomia 18 (a chromosomal disorder which caused a baby to die one week after birth), necrotic enterocolitis (a severe bacterial infection of the intestine which caused a baby to die three weeks after birth), sepsis (blood infection), neutropenia (low white blood cell count) and anaemia. Few studies have followed the long-term development of children born to women who received chemotherapy during pregnancy.
Although growing numbers of doctors are recommending chemo as an option for pregnant women, many of these women are still refusing treatment unless they abort their fetus first. However, some women have stated that being pregnant increases their will to survive after being diagnosed.
This is a decision that clearly carries a lot of weight in many different ways, and the only person who should be responsible for deciding what is best for the baby is the mother carrying its life in her body.
Article that talks about risks of chemo during pregnancy: http://www.otispregnancy.org/files/…