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  • Writer's pictureOren Zarif

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


If you suspect that you may have breast cancer, you should speak to your doctor about your options during pregnancy. While you should not wait until you're past your due date to start cancer treatment, your doctor may prescribe a medicine to induce labor. You can also choose between vaginal delivery and a caesarean section, which removes the baby from the mother through the abdomen. During pregnancy, the placenta can contain cancer cells.

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Women who have breast cancer have a slightly higher risk than women who are younger when they give birth. Because breast cancer may be more difficult to detect during pregnancy, some women wait until after delivery to get their annual mammograms. But this is not wise because breast cancer tumors often grow larger by the time they're discovered. Pregnancy can also make breast tissue denser, making early cancer symptoms more difficult to detect.

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The stage of the cancer can help doctors decide how to proceed. In early stages, the cancer may be removed with a mastectomy or lumpectomy. If it has spread to the lymph nodes and surrounding muscles, it is considered stage III or advanced. If it has spread to the other parts of the body, it's considered stage IV. Treatment for breast cancer is complex and complicated during pregnancy. The best course of action is to seek medical attention immediately.

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If you think you may have breast cancer, consult with your doctor immediately. Most cancers diagnosed during pregnancy begin as a painless breast lump. However, many of these are not cancer. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, don't wait until delivery or breastfeeding to have your breast examined. If the lump grows in size or becomes larger or darker, consult your doctor right away. But before you start undergoing surgery, it's important to visit the doctor to get a second opinion.

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PDQ is a service of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These summaries are based on reviews of the medical literature and are not NCI policy statements. The cancer information summary contains current information about breast cancer during pregnancy and is intended for both patients and their families. It does not provide formal guidelines on how to treat breast cancer during pregnancy. However, it provides useful information for women with symptoms of the disease.

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Treatment of cancer during pregnancy can be delayed until after the baby is born if the tumor is caught in the early stages. Early-stage cancer can be treated with minor surgery without causing any harm to the baby. In more advanced stages, it may be safer to deliver the baby early. In addition, some women may be advised to continue the pregnancy, despite the risk of developing breast cancer during this time. There is no evidence to show that breast cancer can spread from mother to fetus, but if cancer reaches the placenta, it can affect the fetus' nutrition.

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There are many other symptoms of breast cancer that may be hard to detect during pregnancy. For example, scaly skin over the breast or red, orange-colored skin around the nipple may be indicative of a cancer. Similarly, breast cancer can cause dimples similar to orange skin. While it may be hard to detect early during pregnancy and nursing, it is important to consult a doctor as soon as you notice a change in your breasts.

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MRI scans and chest x-rays may be safe during pregnancy, but there are other procedures that could potentially harm the baby. For example, a breast biopsy requires an injection of dye that crosses the placenta. MRI without dye is also safe, but doctors may opt for an alternative method. Biopsies are also relatively safe during pregnancy. A lead shield is always used on the mother's abdomen during x-rays and CT scans.

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A biopsy of your breasts during pregnancy is another option to confirm if you are pregnant. In this procedure, a pathologist will remove tissues from your breast and examine them under a microscope to identify if they are cancerous. Your doctor may also perform other tests to check your condition and the baby's health. Your doctor will also decide on treatment options based on your pregnancy history and the risk of harm to the unborn baby.

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