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Types & Stages

 
Types & Stages

Chapter: 5 - Types & Stages

Subchapter: 8 - Breast Cancer During Pregnancy

Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy have tremendous additional strain due to concern for the safety of the unborn child. It is a traumatic and extremely difficult situation, but there is still hope because of the many treatment options available. If you are pregnant and have been diagnosed, be sure to communicate information about your pregnancy to your doctor. Your medical team will take extra care in designing the treatment plan that best controls the breast cancer while protecting your unborn child.

Your treatment plan will depend on the size of the tumor, its location, and the term of your pregnancy. As with women who are not pregnant, surgery is the first step for treating early-stage breast cancer. Surgery during pregnancy carries little risk to your unborn child, so your medical team will most likely proceed by removing the lump, and possibly some lymph nodes from under the arm, with a lumpectomy or mastectomy.

Chemotherapy may be a treatment option, depending on your cancer type and the stage of your pregnancy. The effects of hormone therapy on unborn children is not entirely understood; because of this, if hormone therapy is prescribed, it will most likely be used only after the baby is born.

Although the cancer cannot spread to and harm the unborn child, sometimes the best treatment plan for the mother may put the unborn child at risk. These decisions will require the expertise and consultation between your obstetrician, surgeon, medical oncologist, and radiation oncologist. You will also need the emotional support of family and friends and may benefit from the professional assistance of a skilled counselor or psychologist.

Related Questions

  • julie s Profile

    Anyone had neoadjuvant chemo and had a complete pathological response? At what point is that determined? With a pet scan or after surgery?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I had a complete response, sort of... I was stage 2b IDC and I had 8 rounds of AC/Taxol-Herceptin. The MRI, biopsies and mammogram showed it was completely gone and I went ahead with breast conservation surgery in April. I knew I'd lose a significant area of tissue and the affected nodes. I...

      more

      I had a complete response, sort of... I was stage 2b IDC and I had 8 rounds of AC/Taxol-Herceptin. The MRI, biopsies and mammogram showed it was completely gone and I went ahead with breast conservation surgery in April. I knew I'd lose a significant area of tissue and the affected nodes. I lost 14 nodes that looked as though they had at one time been cancerous and all came back clear. However, the margins revealed stage 0 DCIS - which my doctor realized could happen but I didn't - so I went ahead with a mastectomy in May. Anyway, the original cancer was completely gone so I DID have a total response, and my doctor has used me as an example of a great success with neo-adjuvant therapy in her talks at various places.

      2 comments
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      The lymph nodes were positive when I did the biopsy. I hope this helps. O ya mysurgery was a month ago. U tc, jayme

      Comment
  • Surf  Momma Profile

    How does one prepare for surgery?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Tricia Hensey Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Make sure you have plenty of shirts or tops that are easy to get in out of. Arrange a schedule for friends to bring meals for a couple weeks. Tell people you'll need to rest the first few days home from the hospital and they can visit after that. Get someone to help clean your house. Shave...

      more

      Make sure you have plenty of shirts or tops that are easy to get in out of. Arrange a schedule for friends to bring meals for a couple weeks. Tell people you'll need to rest the first few days home from the hospital and they can visit after that. Get someone to help clean your house. Shave your legs and paint your toenails! These are things I've learned over the past year since I had my double mast and other surgeries. Best of luck you!

      2 comments
    • Ryan Nez Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Prayer....

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    What is an MRI biopsy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2011
    over 8 years 5 answers
  • StephenieKay Seymour Profile

    I had cervical cancer took 1/2 my cervix and most of my uterus I still have my ovaries will the cancer return? I wanted 1 more baby is there help for me?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      StephanieKay,
      I think this question is best posed to your Ob/Gyn. (Did you have breast cancer??) Nobody can predict if any type of cancer will return. It depends on the type of cancer, and many other factors.
      Good luck, Sharon

      Comment
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I agree with Traciann and anonymous....a surrogate (or gestational carrier) can carry a baby that is your and your husband's. And I also think carrying a baby with 1/2 a uterus may be tricky. I am sure there are options for you!

      Comment

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