The incidence of pregnancy-associated cancer (PAC) is expected to increase as more women delay childbearing until later ages. However, information on frequency and incidence of PAC is scarce in the United States.
We identified pregnancies among women aged 10-54 years during 2001-2013 from five U.S. health plans participating in the Cancer Research Network (CRN) and the Medication Exposure in Pregnancy Risk Evaluation Program (MEPREP). We extracted information from the health plans' administrative claims and electronic health record databases, tumor registries, and infants' birth certificate files to estimate the frequency and incidence of PAC, defined as cancer diagnosed during pregnancy and up to 1 year postpartum.
We identified 846 PAC events among 775,709 pregnancies from 2001 to 2013. The overall incidence estimate was 109.1 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 101.8-116.7) per 100,000 pregnancies. There was an increase in the incidence between 2002 and 2012 (the period during which complete data were available), from 75.0 (95% CI = 54.9-100.0) per 100,000 pregnancies in 2002 to 138.5 (95% CI = 109.1-173.3) per 100,000 pregnancies in 2012. The most common invasive cancers diagnosed were breast (n = 208, 24.6%), thyroid (n = 168, 19.9%), melanoma (n = 93, 11.0%), hematologic (n = 87, 10.3%), and cervix/uterus (n = 74, 8.7%).
Our study provides contemporary incidence estimates of PAC from a population-based cohort of U.S. women. These estimates provide the data needed to help develop clinical and public health policies aimed at diagnosing PAC at an early stage and initiating appropriate therapeutic interventions in a timely manner.