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Posted on Apr 19, 2022

Treatment of Breast Cancer during Pregnancy

On the off chance that you are determined to have breast cancer while pregnant, your treatment alternatives will be more complicated on the grounds that you will need to get the best treatment for your cancer while additionally ensuring the baby is safe. The type and duration of treatment should be arranged cautiously and composed between your care team and your obstetrician.

It is very important for you to know all your options as you may have hard choices to make if you are pregnant and have breast cancer. Pregnant women can safely get treatment for breast cancer, while the types of treatment used and the timing of treatment might be affected by the pregnancy. The treatment recommendations will depend on the size of the tumor, its location, if it has spread and how far, how far along you are in the pregnancy, overall health and your personal preferences.

For removal of the cancer in the breast and nearby lymph nodes, surgery is a major part of treatment for any woman with early breast cancer, and generally considered safe in pregnancy.

Options for breast cancer surgery might include:

  • Mastectomy (Removal of the entire breast)
  • Lumpectomy or breast-conserving surgery [BCS] (Removal of just the part containing the cancer)

Although, surgery for breast cancer generally carries little risk to the baby, there are certain times in pregnancy when anesthesia may be riskier for the baby.

Chemotherapy seems to be safe for the baby if given in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, but it isn’t safe in the first trimester. Other breast cancer treatments, such as hormone therapy, targeted therapy, and radiation therapy, are more likely to harm the baby and are usually given after the delivery rather than during pregnancy.

Complications can occur if there is a conflict of interest between the best known treatment for the ailing mother and the well-being of the baby. A counselor or psychologist should also be part of your health care team to help give you the emotional support you may need.

It is recommended by most doctors that women who have just had babies and are about to be treated for breast cancer should stop or not start breastfeeding. Many chemo, hormone, and targeted therapy drugs can enter breast milk and be passed on to the baby which is why breastfeeding isn’t recommended.