As many would know, breast cancer is one of the most common cancers that affect women. Though men and women can both get cancer, the probability of getting cancer is higher in women in comparison to men.
If you have been detected breast cancer especially while being pregnant, the treatment options immediately become more complicated, as you would want to ensure that nothing harms the child developing inside of you while getting treated for breast cancer.
While treating breast cancer of pregnant women as well as not pregnant women, the goal is the same, that is, to treat it as soon as possible and to control it from spreading. However, if a woman is pregnant, a special treatment plan will be made by the obstetrician and the cancer care team.
Diagnosis of breast cancer during pregnancy
Diagnosing breast cancer during pregnancy can be a little more tricky than for women who are not pregnant. This is so because the first Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer such as lumps and changes in the breasts can be seen as changes occurring due to being pregnant. Thus, breast cancer in pregnant women may be discovered at a more advanced stage than in women who are not pregnant.
The diagnosis of breast cancer in pregnant women is usually done when they are undergoing a clinical exam breast is a part of their prenatal care.
Is treatment of breast cancer during pregnancy safe?
Treatment of breast cancer during pregnancy when done in the correct manner is safe for both the mother and the child. Such a treatment plan needs to be drawn up by the doctors that ensure that while the mother is being treated, nothing is harming the fetus that is inside of her.
The treatment recommendations are usually based on:
- Size of the tumor
- Location of the tumor
- How much the tumor has spread
- How far along is the pregnancy
- The overall health of the mother
- Personal preference of the mother
Breast Cancer Treatment During Pregnancy
There is quite a few breast cancer treatment during pregnancy available. Some breast cancer treatments cannot be resorted to for pregnant women as they can harm the fetus. However, with the correct treatment plan, the mother and the fetus can both be kept safe.
The following treatments can be taken up for breast cancer treatment during pregnancy-
- Surgery: Surgery is one of the safest options for pregnant women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. The anesthesia may enter the placenta, however, but it has been noted not to cause any kind of birth defects or problems.
- Radiation therapy: Usually, women with breast cancer get lumpectomy done, followed by radiation therapy. Women in the 1st trimester are encouraged to get a mastectomy which does not require radiation therapy. However, in pregnancies in their 2nd or 3rd trimester, lumpectomy is recommended; however, the radiation therapy usually starts after delivery.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is also a safe Treatment Of Breast Cancer in pregnant women. However, it is not recommended during the 1st trimester as birth defects due to drugs and miscarriage have the most chances during the 1st trimester.
Risk Factors For Breast Cancer During Pregnancy
A risk factor generally means that a particular person may be at more risk of getting breast cancer than another person. This does not mean that anyone having such risk factors will definitely get breast cancer. Certain risk factors for breast cancer during pregnancy are-
- Conceiving and giving birth for the first time at an older age: Women who conceive and give birth for the first time after the age of 30 are at a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
- Recent childbirth: Recent childbirth can increase the risk of breast cancer as well; however, the risk reduces after 10 years of such birth. Therefore, any other pregnancy in that period the risk remains.
- Taking diethylstilbestrol during the pregnancy: Taking estrogen increasing medication during pregnancy can also increase the risk of getting breast cancer.
- Smoking and drinking: Smoking and drinking before, during after pregnancy has been known to be the most common risk factors for breast cancer during pregnancy.
Breastfeeding and treatment for breast cancer: simultaneously
Once you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and after delivery of the baby, the best option, if you wish to breastfeed the baby, would be to talk with your doctor.
However, if you are going through any kind of therapy such as radiation, chemo, hormonal, or targeted therapy, it is best advised not to breastfeed your baby. Other treatments such as surgeries can make it difficult for the mother to nurse the baby from the treated breasts.
To ensure Everything Health during a diagnosis of breast cancer during pregnancy, one has to ensure that she chooses such a treatment plan that will keep her as well as her child safe. Getting treated for breast cancer during pregnancy is possible; however, more caution will need to be practiced as it is not only the mother who may be affected if not treated right but also her child.