After your multidisciplinary team (MDT) have had a meeting, your doctor and nurse will explain the treatment options to you. You will probably want your partner, if you have one, family or a close friend to be with you.
You and your doctors and nurses will need to talk things over carefully. As far as possible, doctors try to give the same treatment as they give women who are not pregnant. Sometimes certain treatments may need to be delayed because they are not safe for the baby.
You need to fully understand the risks and benefits of your treatment options before you decide. This may involve having several appointments with your cancer team. Your doctors and nurses know you will need time to think about and understand the information they give you.
You may be making hard decisions that affect your own life and your pregnancy. You may also have other children to think about. You will need lots of support from your partner, if you have one, family, close friends and your doctors and nurses.
Unless you have a fast-growing cancer, you will not usually need to make a decision straightaway. You can usually take time to think about how you are feeling and which options feel right for you. Your doctors and nurses will give you advice and can help you make your decision. It may also help to see a psychologist or counsellor to talk things over.
Decisions about ending the pregnancy
Women can usually have effective treatment while pregnant. So most of the time it is not necessary to end the pregnancy.
However, in certain situations, your cancer specialist may advise you to end the pregnancy. This is usually only when there is a serious risk to your health. For example, if the pregnancy is early and the cancer is fast-growing and needs urgent treatment that would not be safe for the baby. Or it could be if you need an operation that cannot be done during pregnancy. It depends on the type of cancer, its stage and how far along the pregnancy is.
Ending a pregnancy does not improve the outlook (prognosis) for a cancer. But it may mean you can have the most effective treatment without doctors needing to change it to protect the baby. Your cancer doctor and nurse will explain things carefully to you. They will help you understand the risks to your health of continuing with the pregnancy.
Having to think about ending a pregnancy is very distressing. It is a deeply personal decision that only you can make.
Some women may have been planning their pregnancy for a long time or struggled to become pregnant. It may even be the result of going through fertility treatment.
You will need a lot of support from your partner, if you have one and close family and friends. Your healthcare team will also support you and respect the choices you make.
You may have strong protective feelings towards the developing baby. For some women, ending a pregnancy may not be acceptable.
You may decide for yourself to have a termination even if your specialist is not suggesting that you have one. This may be because you feel you cannot get on with having treatment and recovering while being pregnant. Or you may want to focus on getting well for the family you already have. Whatever the reasons, it is very upsetting to have to make the decision.
It is natural to need extra support from an expert counsellor or a psychologist. They will have experience in supporting people going through a loss.