Breast cancer during pregnancy is a very rare case. It doesn’t happen often but, when a mommy-to-be is diagnosed with breast cancer it can be distressing. Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer found in new moms, while breastfeeding, or within the first year of delivery. When an expectant is diagnosed with the Breast Cancer, there are chances of finding it out at the later stage.
The reasons for it are:
The early symptoms of Breast Cancer are generally mistaken for the normal changes that happen when pregnant. This delayed diagnosis is one of the major problems with breast cancer in pregnancy.
BREAST CANCER TREATMENT DURING PREGNANCY
The treatment of Breast Cancer during pregnancy depends on things such as the size of the tumor, where the tumor is, if the cancer has spread and if it has, how far, how far along the pregnancy is and what the woman prefers, etc.
The challenge faced by doctors while treating a pregnant woman with breast cancer is protecting the growing fetus from the side effects of treatment.
Surgery is considered to be the safest treatment for breast cancer in pregnancy. Surgery includes
Mastectomy is used more often in pregnant women with breast cancer because women who have breast-conserving surgery need radiation therapy afterward, which is harmful for the fetus. Other treatments for breast cancer, such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, and radiation are also harmful for the fetus.
Chemotherapy is considered safe for the fetus when given later in pregnancy. It isn’t safe for the early pregnancy treatment. If a woman has breast cancer in early pregnancy and demands chemotherapy immediately, she may be asked to rethink about her pregnancy by the doctor, in such cases. Ending the pregnancy is only recommended for aggressive cancers that may need immediate treatment.
The expectant and her family must understand all the risks and benefits of options available to them before making their treatment decisions.