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Cancer Center Wise Regional

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Understanding the Maternal Complications of Colon Cancer

Dr. Gregory Echt explains the complications experienced by pregnant women who have colon cancer.

Decatur, TX – May 24, 2019 – Colon cancer can be diagnosed during pregnancy or within a year of delivery. Cancer has been known to cause death in women who are in their reproductive age. Because of the physiologic changes of pregnancy, the symptoms of colorectal cancer can easily be mistaken for those of a healthy pregnancy and therefore delay the diagnosis.

“It is presumed that the association between neoplastic cell growth and gestation and proliferation has a role in the pathogenesis of colorectal cancer in pregnancy.” Explained Dr. Echt. “Factors like p53 protein abnormality, pregnancy hormones (progesterone and estrogen) and cyclooxygenase enzyme have been are known to be the cause of the carcinogenesis of colorectal cancer in pregnancy.”

Below are some of the maternal complications of colorectal cancer:

  • Nutritional deficiencies – Nutritional deficiencies are often caused by the tumor or the chemotherapy-induced anorexia.
  • Hemorrhage, perforation, and obstruction – Such conditions require surgical intervention immediately. For patients with perforation or bowel obstruction, decompressive measures should be used as initial therapy. In the first half of a patient’s pregnancy, stoma and resection are recommended with early diagnosis of rectal carcinoma. Rectal cancer patients with obstruction in early pregnancy may have to undergo Hartmann’s operation.
  • Depression is another complication due to colorectal cancer in pregnancy.
  • Fetal complications due to colorectal cancer include prematurity, stillbirth, termination or intrauterine growth restriction. The effects of chemotherapy are the same in mother and fetus (ototoxicity, myelosuppression).
  • Administering chemotherapy during the first trimester of pregnancy will increase the risk of malformations, fetal death, and spontaneous abortion.

Chemotherapy should be started during pregnancy and not after delivery unless the newborn is delivered within a few weeks after diagnosis," continued Dr. Echt. “This is to avoid pre-term birth. Early delivery is the best option to avoid the exposure of the fetus to maternal chemotherapy.”

About North Texas Cancer Center at Wise

North Texas Cancer Center at Wise, a division of Choice Cancer Care, is now operating as the Cancer Center at Wise Regional and is one of the most renowned cancer treatment centers in Texas. The center unites some of the best cancer doctors and surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists. Our expert team delivers superior cancer treatment in Texas, with the best results available.

Contact Details:

North Texas Cancer Center at Wise County

2010 S. Ben Merritt Drive, Ste A

Decatur, TX 76234



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