Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Women who suffered from cancer in childhood are 28% less likely to have children as adults than other women, according to a study published Monday by the journal CANCER.
Female cancer survivors may be hesitant to have children over fears for the health of their babies, as well as worries over their own cancer recurring, the researchers said.
However, these concerns don't appear to influence their family-planning decisions once they become pregnant, they said.
"Our study shows that the risk of terminating a pregnancy is similar in childhood cancer survivors and population controls," study co-author Dr. Johanna M. Melin said in a statement.
"[This suggests] that female childhood cancer survivors are as willing as their peers to continue the pregnancy and become parents," said Melin, a researcher with the Finnish Cancer Registry in Helsinki.
For this study, Melin and her colleagues compared data from 420 first pregnancies of childhood cancer survivors with 2,508 first pregnancies from the general population as recorded in the Finnish registers on cancer, births and induced abortions between 1987 and 2013.
Cancer survivors had a 28% lower probability of becoming pregnant compared with women in the general population, the data showed.
However, these women were only 1% more likely to have an abortion compared to their peers, the researchers said.
The reduced probability of pregnancy in childhood cancer survivors observed in this study highlights the need for care services designed to preserve patients' fertility during cancer treatment, they said.
"Research has found no increased risk for congenital anomalies in children born to cancer survivors," Melin said.
"In our study, termination of pregnancy due to congenital anomaly or birth defect of the fetus was very rare in childhood cancer survivors."