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Pregnancy Screens Lacking for Teens With Leukemia

Low rates for teens with acute leukemia and ER visits before teratogenic exposures

MONDAY, Sept. 12, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Many female adolescent patients with acute leukemia and emergency room (ER) visits have low rates of pregnancy screening before teratogenic exposures, according to research published online Sept. 12 in Cancer.

The researchers analyzed data from 10- to 18-year-old females in the United States diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML) between 1999 and 2011. The team also analyzed data from the same age female cohort who had ER visits with computed tomography of the abdomen/pelvis.

Pregnancy screenings were conducted on 35 percent of ALL patients, 64 percent of AML patients, and 58 percent of emergency department patients. While patients with ALL were significantly less likely to have a pregnancy test than the ER cohort, there was no significant difference between the AML and ER cohorts. There was wide variation in pregnancy screening patterns among different hospitals.

“While sexual health discussions and education may traditionally be thought to be the responsibility of the patient’s primary care provider, adolescents with cancer will often see their oncologist frequently over the course of their cancer treatment, and afterwards,” study author Pooja Rao, M.D., who was with the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia when the study was conducted, said in a journal news release. “Oncologists therefore are well-positioned to initiate discussions about sexual health with their patients.”

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