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Pregnancy and Breast Cancer Symptoms - Oren Zarif - Pregnancy and Breast Cancer


While most breast cancers are detected through clinical breast exams, women who are pregnant may not experience the same signs and symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include dimpling of the skin or a bloody discharge from the nipple. Symptoms may also include unusual thickening of the skin in one area of the breast. Despite the potential for complications, breast cancer detection during pregnancy is not impossible, though it may be delayed due to the fact that women experience many of the same changes.

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Women who experience breast cancer during pregnancy should seek medical care right away, as many of the signs are related to the stages of pregnancy. For example, many women postpone mammograms until after delivery, as breast cancer symptoms may be harder to detect during pregnancy. In some cases, cancer may be detected during a pregnancy by a Pap test or an ultrasound. These procedures will help to identify cancer lumps before they cause serious complications.

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While most expectant mothers with breast cancer will require surgery, most cases can be treated without affecting the pregnancy. In early stages of breast cancer, lumpectomy or mastectomy may be appropriate. In some cases, radiation therapy can also be used. This will help to reduce the exposure to radiation to the unborn baby. If you do find breast cancer during pregnancy, your doctor may recommend a different treatment option. In addition to surgery, breast cancer treatment may include hormone therapy or chemotherapy.

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Many women who suffer from breast cancer during pregnancy can safely wait until after childbirth to undergo treatment. However, some women must consider whether to continue the pregnancy. If you decide to carry the baby, discuss contraception with your health care team. Contraceptive pills are not usually recommended for breast cancer survivors. Some doctors recommend barrier methods of contraception such as IUDs, which do not release hormones and are inserted into the uterus. Women who choose to undergo hormone therapy after birth should have the treatment at least four weeks after delivery.

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Women with breast cancer during pregnancy or shortly after delivery need to undergo a diagnostic workup. The results of this diagnostic procedure can help the doctor determine if there are any metastases in the lungs, and if the cancer has spread to other organs. Patients with metastatic breast cancer often undergo chest X-rays with abdominal shielding and noncontrast supine MRIs to identify any abnormalities in the organ.

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Some women experience similar breast cancer symptoms, but they are often misdiagnosed as suffering from mastitis, an infection of the breast. Antibiotics can help treat this condition, but the symptoms usually disappear within a week or two. In some cases, they may not be a sign of IBC at all, but they should be treated with a specialist to ensure they are not experiencing anything more serious. A breast cancer diagnosis can be devastating and overwhelming, especially for a woman who is pregnant.

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If you suspect you might be pregnant and experiencing breast cancer symptoms, your GP can perform a mammogram or ultrasound to detect the tumor in your breast. During this procedure, the technician will shield your unborn baby from any radiation, which can harm the fetus. However, it is important to note that certain types of radiation, such as CT and PET scans, are not recommended for pregnant women.

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A biopsy may be required to determine the cause of your breast cancer. The biopsy removes tissues and cells, which a pathologist then looks at under a microscope to determine whether they are cancerous. Your doctor may also perform an estrogen or progesterone receptor test to identify the type of cancer in your breast. If your cancer is progesterone or estrogen receptor positive, it will probably respond to treatment after you deliver your baby.

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Because of the high risk of pregnancy and the possibility of fetal harm from cancer, you may want to consider undergoing a breast biopsy to diagnose the condition. Breast biopsy can be done with the use of a needle, core biopsy, or surgical removal of a lump. The procedure is safe to perform during pregnancy, and can even be performed under general anesthesia. There is little risk to your baby during the biopsy.

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