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Types of treatment for molar pregnancy

 Men and women discussing gestational trophoblastic tumours

This page tells you about how your doctor decides which treatment you need for molar pregnancy. There is information about

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Types of treatment for molar pregnancy

Molar pregnancy is part of a group of tumours called gestational trophoblastic tumours (or GTT for short). Molar pregnancy is not a cancer, but if it doesn't go away or comes back, it is treated like a cancer.

Surgery for molar pregnancy

Most women will only need minor surgery to remove a molar pregnancy and get rid of the abnormal molar tissue for good. This is usually an operation called a dilatation and curettage (D and C). Occasionally the doctors might give you a tablet instead of surgery. The tablet makes your womb contract and empties the contents of your womb.

Follow up

Once you’ve had the operation to remove the molar tissue, your doctors will keep a very close eye on the level of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) in your blood and urine. All women in the UK diagnosed with any type of GTT are referred to one of 3 specialist centres. The centres monitor your follow up. This is because GTT is a rare condition, and the experts at treating it are concentrated in a few places.

Further treatment

About 10 to 15 out of every 100 women who have had a complete molar pregnancy (10 to 15%) need treatment with chemotherapy. After a partial molar pregnancy about 1 in 100 women (1%) need chemotherapy. If you need chemotherapy, you will need to go to either the Sheffield or London treatment centres to have it.

 

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Surgery for molar pregnancy

Molar pregnancy is a type of gestational trophoblastic tumour (GTT). It is not a cancer, but if it doesn't go away, or comes back after surgery, it is called an invasive mole or persistent trophoblastic disease and is treated like a cancer. There is information about persistent disease in our section about treating persistent trophoblastic disease and choriocarcinoma.

There is treatment for all types and stages of GTT. And nearly all of them are curable. The important thing is to begin treatment as soon after your diagnosis as possible.

Most women only need minor surgery to remove a molar pregnancy and get rid of it for good. This is usually an operation called a dilatation and curretage (D and C). Some women may need a second D and C if the first one does not get rid of all the molar tissue.

Occasionally, for a suspected partial molar pregnancy your doctors might give you a tablet instead of surgery. The tablet makes your womb contract and empties the contents of your womb. It causes bleeding, which is a bit like a heavy period.

Read more detailed information about surgery for molar pregnancy.

 

Follow up

Once you’ve had an operation to remove the molar tissue from your womb, your treatment team will monitor you (follow up). Follow up means keeping a very close eye on the levels of a hormone called hCG in your blood and urine. Although you will have the D and C operation at your local hospital, your blood and urine tests will be checked by a specialist hospital. 

All women in the UK diagnosed with any type of GTT are registered with one of 3 specialist hospitals for follow up (in London, Sheffield or Dundee). This is because GTTS are very rare, and the experts treating them are based in a few places. There is detailed information about follow up after molar pregnancy in this section.

 

Further treatment

Most women will only need minor surgery for a molar pregnancy, to remove the molar tissue. But about 10 to 15 out of every 100 women who have had a complete molar pregnancy (10 to 15%) need treatment with chemotherapy. After a partial molar pregnancy about 1 in 100 women (1%) need chemotherapy.

If you need to have chemotherapy, you will go to either the Sheffield (Weston Park Hospital) or London (Charing Cross Hospital) to have it. There is information about chemotherapy for persistent trophoblastic disease and choriocarcinoma in this section.

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Updated: 15 June 2016