Cancer and Pregnancy Conference – the case for centralized data and a multidisciplinary approach

Pregnant women on sofaInspired.

It’s hard to think of last Thursday’s Cancer and Pregnancy conference, organized by our partner Mummy’s Star, and not have this feeling come back over and over again.

Inspired – By the wonderful people who, in the face of adversity and grief, turned one of the most difficult experiences one could ever be confronted with into an opportunity to support other parents facing this situation.

Inspired – By the health care practitioners – midwives, nurses, doctors  - who were there to learn how to improve care and support for women who face cancer in pregnancy, and those who are already making a difference in these women’s lives.

Inspired – By the mothers who lived through such an incredibly tough experience and came forward to share their stories, so others will know that there are options, and help is available.

Inspired – By the dedication and enthusiasm of the organizers and many volunteers who were there to ensure the day was a success.

There are too many takeaways from this day – both from a personal and professional perspective -- but here are the significant highlights from my perspective:

1 – There was a strong conviction amongst health care professionals and sufferers that the establishment of a centralized and accessible registry of cancer in pregnancy will help improve and harmonize the quality of care for women with that condition.

2 – A multidisciplinary approach, which includes all aspects of care as well as consultation with the patient and her partner, is absolutely necessary in making sure the decisions made are right for her, and protect her dignity and motherhood experience.

3 – Support doesn’t stop at medical care. The networks of organizations that offer practical help – with things ranging from breast milk donation to nutrition, to day care and more – are as essential to the patients’ recovery and her family’s well-being than effective treatment.

This has confirmed the role the Pregnancy and Medicine Initiative can play in helping bring stakeholders together to support the development and implementation of knowledge databases and solutions that can help patients and doctors make evidence-based decisions.  And has confirmed my own determination in raising awareness about this unmet need, not only for pregnant women suffering from cancer, but for all mothers-to-be with medical needs, so they no longer have to be “brave” in order to receive the support and care they need.

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