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  • Writer's pictureOren Zarif

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

The onset of pregnancy-associated breast cancer (PABC) is relatively uncommon, occurring in approximately one in 3,000 women. Women with cancer in their breasts during pregnancy, after delivery, or while lactating are considered at a higher risk for the disease than non-pregnant women. Breast masses in women who are pregnant or breast feeding are considered at an increased risk for the disease, and the differential diagnosis may include cancer, lactating adenoma, fibroadenoma, cystic disease, lobular hyperplasia, galactocele, hamartoma, or sarcoma.

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Although there is no specific risk factor for breast cancer during pregnancy, the condition is still a concern for pregnant women. Pregnancy affects the production of certain hormones, which can cause breast cancer to grow faster. Furthermore, the breasts thicken during pregnancy, making it more difficult for women to detect lumps. Most breast cancer tumors have already grown into larger tumors by the time they are discovered, making regular breast examinations even more important.

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Although pregnancy and breast cancer symptoms often overlap, women who are older than 30 at the time of giving birth are at an increased risk of developing the disease. However, the symptoms of pregnancy are not always immediately apparent, so it is important to discuss any changes with a physician. Some signs of breast cancer during pregnancy may be similar to those of pregnancy, including dimpling of skin, blood in the nipple, abnormally thickened skin in one area, and enlarged breasts.

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Surgical treatment for cancer during pregnancy is typically an option. In most cases, expectant moms who experience cancer during pregnancy will undergo lumpectomy or mastectomy, which removes the affected breast and lymph nodes. Some types of surgery may need additional treatments after the delivery of the baby. Typically, women with breast cancer undergo surgery, although the risks of complications and possible miscarriage are higher. Further, patients may need reconstructive surgery.

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The most common method of diagnosis is through a biopsy, which involves removing a piece of tissue and testing it for cancer. This procedure is generally done under general anesthesia, which puts the patient into a deep state of sleep. It carries some small risks to the fetus, so this procedure is not recommended for women who are pregnant. Although the early stage of the cancer is often difficult to detect, most women continue their pregnancy after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

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Although not a common occurrence, breast cancer during pregnancy can be detected during the first trimester or even later. The risk increases with age, but the increased number of women having children later in life has also increased the incidence of pregnancy-associated cancer. The hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy may help breast cancer cells grow and multiply, making it more likely to spread. As a result, it is important to learn about how to perform breast exams. The prenatal visit should include a breast exam.

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Some breast cancer treatments can cause harm to the unborn baby, so it is important to know the risks of each procedure. Radiation therapy can be harmful to the baby if it occurs during the first trimester, so treatment can be delayed until later in pregnancy, or even after delivery. Earlier treatment may also help prevent a return of cancer. If you're unsure about your pregnancy status after treatment, speak with your doctor.

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Early stage cervical cancer can be treated without harming the baby. If your cancer has spread to your lymph nodes, your surgeon can perform a mastectomy. You may be able to safely delay surgery until the end of your pregnancy, but this might be a better option if it's too advanced for you to carry the baby. However, if you're facing a more advanced stage of cancer, treatment should be completed right away.

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While it may be difficult to diagnose breast cancer during pregnancy, it's crucial to talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Your doctor will be able to provide you with the best treatment options, so you can focus on protecting your unborn baby. Your obstetrician and oncology team can work together to find the best treatment plan for you and your unborn baby. It's important that you discuss any symptoms of the disease with your doctor and to have all of your medical tests performed.

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Treatment for cancer during pregnancy is the same as for non-pregnant women, but the timing of treatments can vary. In general, surgery is considered a safe option for most women. The type of surgery used depends on the type of cancer, but the goal is the same - to remove the cancerous tumor. You and your doctor will discuss the options available and the risks and benefits of all treatment. And don't forget to discuss your concerns with your doctor and with your friends and family.

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