About Breast Cancer > Types > Breast Cancer During Pregnancy. At the American Cancer Society, we’re on a mission to free the world from cancer. How does menstrual and reproductive history affect breast cancer risks? Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy have tremendous additional strain due to concern for the safety of the unborn child. Some treatments for breast cancer can harm the baby and are not safe during pregnancy. But there are certain times in pregnancy when anesthesia (the drugs used to make you sleep for surgery) may be riskier for the baby. Radiation is normally given after chemotherapy treatments are complete. But this treatment approach has not been well-studied. Breast cancer is found in about 1 in every 3,000 pregnant women. The birth may be induced (brought on) a few weeks early in some cases. In some cases, this treatment can be put off until after delivery. But studies have shown that certain chemo drugs (such as doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, and the taxanes) used during the second and third trimesters (months 4 through 9 of pregnancy) don’t raise the risk of birth defects, stillbirths, or health problems shortly after birth, though they may increase the risk of early delivery. Donnelly EH, Smith JM, Farfán EB, Ozcan I. Prenatal radiation exposure: Background material for counseling pregnant patients following exposure to radiation. 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. During pregnancy, breast cancer is known to be one of the most occurring malignancies that bring unwanted complications. While pregnancy and breastfeeding may be protective against some forms of breast cancer, women who are older than 30 when they first give birth have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer … Published 2014 Dec 30. Cancer.org is provided courtesy of the Leo and Gloria Rosen family. Treatment choices can become complicated if there is a conflict between the best known treatment for the mother and the well-being of the baby. Henry NL, Shah PD, Haider I, Freer PE, Jagsi R, Sabel MS. Chapter 88: Cancer of the Breast. And there’s no evidence that your child will develop cancer in later life because you had breast cancer while pregnant. The American Cancer Society is a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. J Thorac Dis. Oncology. Surgery during pregnancy can be safely performed with little risk to your unborn child, so your medical team will most likely proceed by removing the lump with a lumpectomy or mastectomy, and possibly some lymph nodes from under the arm. Breast cancer during pregnancy is often referred to as gestational breast cancer or pregnancy-associated breast cancer (PABC). Breast Cancer Treatment During Pregnancy – Health Professional Version. Cancer Information, Answers, and Hope. have found that the outcomes among pregnant and non-pregnant women with breast cancer are about the same for cancers found at the same stage, but not all studies agree. Possible explanations are the trend to postpone childbearing and the general increase in the incidence of breast cancer. Waiting too long to start radiation can increase the chance of the cancer coming back. Cancer during pregnancy: Perinatal outcome after in utero exposure to chemotherapy. Your dense breasts also make mammography less reliable. You will also need the emotional support of family and friends and may benefit from the professional assistance of a skilled counselor or psychologist. Prognosis of women with primary breast cancer diagnosed during pregnancy: Results from an international collaborative study. Second trimester: If breast cancer is found during the second trimester of pregnancy, the guidelines recommend either mastectomy … Researchers still don’t know if these children will have any long-term effects. Version 2.2019. It may be difficult to detect (find) breast cancer early in pregnant or nursing women. For some women whose cancer is found later in the pregnancy, it may be possible to have a lumpectomy during pregnancy and then wait until after the baby is born to get radiation therapy. Finding out you have breast cancer while you are pregnant is very upsetting. While a diagnosis of breast cancer during pregnancy can be quite distressful, it is not necessary to terminate the pregnancy unless the woman chooses. If you are pregnant and have breast cancer, you may have hard choices to make, so be sure you know all your options and get expert help. Many chemo, hormone, and targeted therapy drugs can enter breast milk and be passed on to the baby. 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