Roundup of the 7th European Breast Cancer Conference, Barcelona

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Published: 15 Apr 2010
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Prof Gordon McVie - European Institute of Oncology, Milan

Although we can be optimistic thanks to the great advances that have been made in the field, there are still unacceptable levels of variation, with high cancer rates found in certain countries and socio-economic groups and a disparity in between the opinions of patients and doctors of what should be considered successful treatment.

Among the numerous studies on pregnancy and fertility, a number of key points arose, including: the low level of understanding among young women of how treatments can affect fertility; research indicating that treating pregnant women with chemotherapy poses a relatively low risk to the unborn child; a study showing that women who had been treated with chemotherapy did not have a reduced chance of becoming pregnant in the future.

The issue of communication has also come to light. A panel discussion identified a lack of clarity in the information provided outlining the risk of contracting cancer when a mutated BRC-1 or BRC-2 gene is identified.