According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. abnormal results in prenatal tests could indicate cancer in mothers. The results are not abnormal necessarily because there is something wrong with the fetus, but they can also indicate that the mothers might have cancer. The paper was also presented in Washington DC, at a meeting of the International Society for Prenatal Diagnosis members.
Noninvasive prenatal tests are usually used in order to identify fetal chromosome abnormalities which can lead to for example to Down syndrome. The mother’s blood contains small amounts of fetal DNA and that is why it is tested. However this recent study suggests that cancer is among the conditions which could lead to test results that might mistakenly indicate that the fetus presents abnormalities. Other previous studies have also proved that this is true. However the results are not definite.
This type of screening was introduced in 2011 for the first time and it can be conducted as early as the tenth week of pregnancy. However follow-up diagnostic tests are recommended in order to check that the test is indeed positive.
The researchers involved in the study made this discovery when they re-assessed the blood test results from eight pregnant women. At first the results indicated that there was something wrong with the women, but after they had performed other tests the researchers found out that the babies were perfectly healthy but unfortunately the mother was not. The researchers detected undiagnosed cancer in the mothers.
Dr. Diana Bianchi, the head of the Mother Infant Research Institute at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, said that when the results came she did not expect the cause to be cancer. She never expected this even though she was an experience of 25 years in this field.
Cancer is not usually detected during pregnancy. Only 1 in 1.000 mothers are diagnosed with cancer in this period. The types of cancer usually identified in pregnant women are in ovaries, colon, breasts and cervix.
Dr. Bianchi concluded that women should take into account this instance is also possible. She also added that more research needs to be conducted in order to help and guide physicians on how to deal with follow-up care and counsel women.
Image Source: hopkinsmedicine.org