Experiences of gestational trophoblastic disease: reconciling cancer, pregnancy and loss


  • Dr Emily Ross

    University of Sheffield

Project summary

Gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) is a rare condition arising from pregnancy, causing abnormal cells to develop in the womb. In some cases, this leads to a tumour. GTD can mean that a woman may receive a positive test and experience pregnancy symptoms even though she is not carrying a baby. GTD poses questions about what it means to be pregnant and challenges how we understand cancer.

Experiences of GTD are poorly understood because it is rare, but also because it can be difficult for women and their families to talk about the condition. I will conduct observations and interviews with affected women and professionals who are treating them. I will talk to women about loss, treatment and follow-up to better understand their needs and consider how the way society perceives pregnancy and cancer might shape understandings of GTD and care. 

I will share my findings with charities and healthcare staff to inform the support that is given to women with GTD.