Relationship between melanoma and pregnancy

Written by: Dr. Ángel Pizarro Redondo
Edited by: Anna Raventós Rodríguez

Women of childbearing potential who are at high risk for melanoma and those who have already had one are worried whether a possible pregnancy could increase the risk of developing melanoma or worsen their course and prognosis.


20 or 30 years ago, it was considered that the pregnancy could increase the risk of melanoma, or that it could worsen its prognosis and evolution.


We still do not have a completely accurate answer to these questions, but we are getting reassuring information about it. The latest data do not reflect that pregnancy increases the risk of melanoma or worsen its prognosis, as recorded in an article in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology last October.


Many of the relationships between pregnancy and melanoma are likely to be the result of chance.

Early diagnosis is the key to avoiding major problems

Melanoma is a relatively common tumor in young adults, the most common malignant tumor among women aged 25-35. Although this is conditioned by the rarity of other tumors at this age, that is, at the age at which women tend to become pregnant, the other malignant tumors are as uncommon or more so than melanoma itself. In fact, teenage abuse of the sun or the use of relatively extended artificial tanning lamps among young women are sure to have more to do with it than pregnancy itself.


On the other hand, moles and many melanomas can express beta receptors for estrogen, which do not have to be functional. This could explain that in some specific cases a certain relation could be given between certain hormonal stimuli and the development or evolution of a melanoma, but I insist, it is not the rule. For the same reason, it is controversial to use hormonal contraceptives, ovulation stimulants and hormone replacement therapy in women at high risk for or who have had melanoma. But also in this case, the most recent data tend to indicate that the influence of these treatments on the incidence or evolution of melanoma, if any, would be minimal.


Although the issues are still open, the latest news is generally reassuring. The risk of melanoma does not appear to be significantly modified by pregnancy, and its prognosis would depend on the same factors that are operative in any other melanoma.


What is certain is that early diagnosis remains the key to avoid major problems. For example, digital dermatoscopy is an excellent option to monitor any woman at risk with abundant or atypical moles, and is a test that can be performed without problems during pregnancy.


For more information consult the dermatologist .

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection
Dr. Ángel Pizarro Redondo

By Dr. Ángel Pizarro Redondo

Doctor with more than 25 years of experience in the development of his assistance activity. As a specialist in Dermatology, Dr. Pizarro is an expert in the treatment of skin cancer, melanoma and dermatoscopy. He is currently a Dermatologist at the International Dermatological Clinic and Head of the Prevention and Early Diagnosis Unit of Melanoma.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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