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Gestational Trophoblastic Disease Risks and Prevention

Concerned female patient talking to male doctor

It is not known how to prevent gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) from forming after you become pregnant, but certain conditions can raise the risk of GTD becoming cancerous. This is called gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN). Be sure to talk to your doctor about your personal risk.

Risk Factors for Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia

  • History of hydatidiform mole (HM): A previous diagnosis of HM raises the risk of developing another HM. This risk increases with every HM.
  • Becoming pregnant before age 20 or after age 35.
  • High beta human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG): This is a hormone made by the body during pregnancy.
  • Large uterine tumors or ovarian cysts.

How to Prevent Gestational Trophoblastic Disease

The only way to prevent GTD is to not get pregnant. However, GTD is so rare that its prevention should not be a factor in family planning decisions. If you have a condition that puts you at risk for GTD, you may benefit from consulting with a genetic counselor to determine your risk.

Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center is a national leader in the field of cancer genetics, and is proud to be the home of the Mariann and Robert MacDonald Cancer Risk Evaluation Center. The center’s team of expert genetic counselors and gynecologic oncologists can provide the information, care, and support you need to make the best decisions about your health.