The quality of evidence (I-III) and classification of recommendations (A-L) are defined at the end of the "Major Recommendations."
Summary Statements and Recommendations
- As women are postponing child-bearing, more of them are experiencing cancer in pregnancy. (II-2)
- Chemotherapeutic agents used to combat cancer cross the placenta and may adversely affect embryogenesis by affecting cell division. (II-1)
- Exposure to such agents after the first trimester of pregnancy has not been associated with increased risk of malformations but is associated with increased risk of stillbirth, intrauterine growth restriction, and fetal toxicities. (II-2)
- The health care provider should examine the patient's risk of pregnancy and desire to prevent pregnancy during chemotherapy. (I-A)
- Decisions about the best course of management in pregnancy, including timing of delivery, should balance maternal and fetal risks. Most authorities concur that maternal health and well-being must prevail. (I-A)
- Women diagnosed with cancer in pregnancy should be optimally managed by a multidisciplinary team that includes oncologists and/or hematologists (depending on the malignancy), perinatologists, family physicians, psychologists, social workers, and spiritual advisors, if sought by the family. (I-A)
Quality of Evidence Assessment*
I: Evidence obtained from at least one properly randomized controlled trial
II-1: Evidence from well-designed controlled trials without randomization
II-2: Evidence from well–designed cohort (prospective or retrospective) or case–control studies, preferably from more than one centre or research group
II-3: Evidence obtained from comparisons between times or places with or without the intervention. Dramatic results in uncontrolled experiments (such as the results of treatment with penicillin in the 1940s) could also be included in this category.
III: Opinions of respected authorities, based on clinical experience, descriptive studies, or reports of expert committees
*Adapted from The Evaluation of Evidence criteria described in the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care.
Classification of Recommendations†
A. There is good evidence to recommend the clinical preventive action.
B. There is fair evidence to recommend the clinical preventive action.
C. The existing evidence is conflicting and does not allow to make a recommendation for or against use of the clinical preventive action; however, other factors may influence decision-making.
D. There is fair evidence to recommend against the clinical preventive action.
E. There is good evidence to recommend against the clinical preventive action.
L. There is insufficient evidence (in quantity or quality) to make a recommendation; however, other factors may influence decision-making.
†Adapted from the Classification of Recommendations criteria described in the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care.