Breast Cancer And Pregnancy

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Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Cancer is a type of disease which is characterized by uncontrollable cell growth. Currently, there is over 100 different type of cancers, and these types are classified according to the type of cells in which they initially grow. Cancer cause harm to body by leading to an uncontrollable cell division that forms masses of tissues known as tumors though types like leukemia disrupt normal blood functioning by leading to abnormal cell division in the blood stream. When tumor grows, it interferes with digestive and circulatory system in the body. The tumor is said to have metastasized, when it successfully spread to the other healthy body parts, invading and destroying them. Metastasis results to a severe condition that is very difficult to treat. This paper will major on breast cancer and pregnancy.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay


Breast cancers cases are very rare during the pregnancy period. Currently, the highest percentage of women prefer to give birth at the later age in life, and this has increased the chances of getting breast cancer as the risk increases as women get older. Due to this factor doctors expects cases of breast cancer to go up in future. Currently, in every one woman among a three thousand women has a breast cancer (Baghurst & Rohan, 1994). The most common type of cancer which is found in women during pregnancy and during breastfeeding within the first year after delivery is called pregnancy-associated breast cancer or gestation breast cancer.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Finding and detection of breast cancer during pregnancy
Breast cancer developed during the pregnancy is typically diagnosed at a later stage than it would then it would be diagnosed if the woman were not pregnant. This increases the likelihood of spreading to the other healthy lymph nodes. The high chances of spreading are due to the hormonal changes during pregnancy. During the pregnancy, the level of progesterone and estrogen goes up since the menstrual cycle does not occur. The prolactin hormone that tells the breast to get prepared for nursing also goes up during this period. This hormonal change causes the breast to change. The breast may become tender, large and lumpy. This makes the detection of lump resulting from the cancer hard until it becomes quite large (Gautherie & Gross, 1980).Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Another reason that makes it hard to find the breast cancer during early pregnancy is due to the delay caused by the screening. The screening has to be delayed till a woman gives birth. Also due to pregnancy and breastfeeding the breast tissues becomes denser, and this also makes it difficult to find the early cancer on the mammogram. Similarities between the changes which occurs as a result of cancer and the normal changes which occurs during pregnancy lead to a confusion that makes it very difficult to find cancer. Therefore, delayed diagnosis of the breast cancer is biggest problem in during pregnancy.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Any change notice in your breast should be treated with a lot of seriousness. You should ensure that your doctor has tested you using relevant tests such as; mammogram or imaging tests like ultrasound or MRI. Any suspicious change in the breast should not be assumed to be a normal change during pregnancy.

It should be checked out and biopsied. Mammogram test is the best method of finding breast cancer and it is often advisable to all pregnant women to have mammogram test. This test can find most of the breast cancer. This test employs a subtle amount of radiation; this radiation is focused on the breast and hence it does not reach the other part of the body (Gautherie & Gross, 1980).). The lower part of the body is then shielded from the exposure of this rays by use of the lead shield and, therefore, no radiation reaching the womb.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Also during the early stages of pregnancy it is important to have early screening of breast health. In case any change or lump in the breast is found, it should be reported the doctor or nurse immediately. Always talk with your doctor or your nurse at the appropriate time to have breast examination and the best time to have next mammogram examination.

The staging and diagnostic of breast cancer

Breast biopsy during pregnancy: A biopsy is necessary when confirming whether the abnormal imaging test and new lump resulting from a breast is a breast cancer. When carrying out biopsy, a piece of tissue is removed from the area of concern. Then breast biopsy is then done using a needle. The biopsy can even be done to a pregnant lady, and it usually done as an outpatient process.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Doctors only use the medicine to numb the area which was involved in the biopsy and thus there is a little risk to the fetus. In case the needle biopsy do not provide the required results, a surgical biopsy is carried out. This process involves cutting off small piece of tissue from the breast through cutting. During the process, the patient is made to fall into a deep sleep by administering anesthesia (Beaumont, Tara & Leadbeater,2011). This process carries a small risk to the fetus.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Tests carried in order to learn the breast cancer stage
Once breast cancer have been found in a victim, a staging process is done. The staging process help in finding out whether the cancer cells have already spread to the other parts of the body or they are just spread within the tissues of the breast. This process is very essential to women with breast cancer during pregnancy since their cancer is generally found at late stages when it is at it advanced stages. The staging test is thus carried out in accordance to the victim’s case.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Some tests like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound do not expose the fetus in the mother’s womb to radiations, and they are thus safe, and they are usually recommended during pregnancy. The dye, commonly used as a contrast material, in MRI sometimes crosses the placenta and hence this type of MRI is not recommended for use during the pregnancy (Cardonick, Dougherty, Grana, Gilmandyar, Ghaffar & Usmani, 2010). It has been linked to the cases of fetal abnormalities in the lab.

Chest x-rays are also safe for use in pregnant women since the belly is shielded from the radiations. This test helps in making the decision on the mode of treatment.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

There are some tests that are likely to expose the fetus to radiations. This type of tests is often not recommended for a pregnant woman especially if the cancer is just within the breast. This criteria includes the bone scan, CT (computed tomography) and the PET test. In case any of this test have to be done to a pregnant mother, the doctor tries to adjust the mode of doing them in order to limit the exposure of radiations to the fetus.

Currently, there have not been a reported any case of a breast cancer being transferred from the mother to the fetus. But in some cases, cancer may reach the placenta if its treatment is delayed (Berrington de González & Reeves, 2005). If such a situation occurs, the amount of nutrients which fetus receives from the mother is affected.

The treatment of breast cancer during pregnancy.
Treatment of the breast cancer during the pregnancy is recommended according to the following factors:

The location of the tumor.
According to the decision of the woman.
How far has the cancer spread to other body parts.
The size of the tumor.
What the woman prefers.
The primary goal of treating breast cancer is the same whether the woman is pregnant or not. The primary goal is to control the cancer from spreading to other body parts. But for the case of a pregnant woman and extra care must be observed in order to prevent exposure of radiation to the growing fetus. Thus, the process is more complex in case of a pregnant woman.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

The safest method of cancer treatment during the pregnancy is through surgery of the breast. In this method, there is no any risk of exposure to radiations to the fetus since no radiations used. Other methods used in the treatment of breast cancer includes target therapy, hormone therapy, radiation, and chemotherapy. If given in later stages, chemotherapy is also considered to safe for a pregnant woman but not in early stages. If chemotherapy has to be given to a pregnant woman at early stages, she must be asked to terminate the pregnancy especially in case of a severe breast cancer like inflammatory breast cancer (Berrington , Berg, Visvanathan & Robson, 2009). The delay in it treatment might result to harm in the mother.

Research have reported that termination of mother’s pregnancy in order to carry out cancer treatment does not improve the prognosis of a woman (Morrow & Jordan, 2003). This is discussed in details under the topic of survival rates after breast cancer. Though this study consists some fault, ending the pregnancy is not the best remedy when breast cancer is found. Families need to know the merit and the demerit of all the options before making the final decision. There is a number of variety of treatment choices to choose from. These treatment options are as discussed below.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Treatment methods of breast cancer
Surgical operation may done in order to remove the cancer and all the nearby lymph nodes in the breast. This is considered the safest method of cancer treatment during pregnancy. The method is mostly used for the treatment of any woman with a breast cancer including pregnant women. The treatment, in this case, involves removing part of the breast that contains the cancer (breast-conserving surgery) or the removal of the entire breast process known as mastectomy. For pregnant women with breast cancer, mastectomy is the often used method because carrying the breast-conserving surgery will led to a need for radiation therapy thereafter (Hochwald, Lambeth, Taylor, Kimberly, Taylor and Danielle 2011).Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Radiotherapy is not advisable for pregnant women with breast cancer since it can affect the fetus, but it can be delayed till after delivery. Delaying too long to give the radiation can in turn increase the chances of cancer getting back. For cases of cancer that is in late pregnancy, delay in radiation therapy may have no effect on the outcome. Since radiation therapy is given after chemotherapy, a patient who is getting chemotherapy after the surgery may not have any delay in radiation treatment. But for cancers found during early stages of pregnancy mastectomy it can used since there is a long delay before starting radiation.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

After the removal of the tumor from the breast, lymph nodes from the armpits must also be removed in order to check the spread of cancer . An example is an auxiliary lymph node dissection. This process involves the removal of most of the lymph node under the armpit. Another procedure for testing cancer spread is SNLB (sentinel lymph node biopsy), this one is optional and it’s dependent on how long is your pregnancy and your cancer stage (Koren, Lishner ; Farine, (1996). The procedure uses dye and tracers to locate the nodes that are most likely to be infected with cancer cells. This process allows the doctor to remove few number of cells. SNLB is recommended for use in later pregnancies since blue dyes, and radioactive tracer used in the procedure might affect the fetus.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Surgical operation for breast cancer is much safe to the fetus, but there are moments in pregnancy when the anesthesia administered to a patient during operation becomes risky to the fetus. Due to this risk, it is advisable for several doctors such as surgeon and high-risk obstetrician to work together in order to decide the best moment to do surgery during pregnancy. In case the surgeon is carried out during the later period of pregnancy, the obstetrician must be available in order to deal with any problem occurring in the fetus during surgery. Jointly, this doctors will decide the best drug and technique to be used in order both mother and the fetus will not be affected by surgery.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

After the surgery operation, a patient is given several more other treatments depending on the cancer’s stage. These treatments include radiation, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy. This procedures helps minimize the risk of cancer coming back. This is usually called adjuvant treatment and it is sometimes carried after the mother has delivered.

The other method of treatment is chemotherapy. This procedure is used alongside with the surgery usually as an adjuvant treatment for earlier stages of breast cancer. It is also carried out by itself to cure more advanced cancers. During the first trimester of the pregnancy, chemotherapy is never used since this is the period when the fetus; internal organs are developing. When chemo is used during this period there is a very high chances of miscarriage (Baysinger, 2010). The safety of chemotherapy treatment during this stage has not yet been found or studied.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

For a couple of years, it has been believed that the use of chemotherapy will have to harm the fetus despite the period of pregnancy when it is given. Further studies have currently shown that the particular type of chemotherapy drugs do not affect the fetus during the fourth through the ninth month of pregnancy i.e. during the second and third trimester. They can only increase the risk of early birth but not affecting the baby. The research is being carried out to find out whether this treatment can have a long term effect to the baby or not.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

When an early cancer in a pregnant woman needs chemotherapy, it is typically delayed until the pregnancy is in its second trimester. If the cancer is found when the woman is at her third semester, the chemotherapy will be delayed until the woman drivers. In some cases, the birth is usually induced some few weeks before the actual delivery period in order to prevent the spread of cancer. Chemotherapy plan is also used in the treatment of women with an advanced cancer.

A pregnant woman should not be given chemotherapy within the first three weeks or after thirty-five weeks as this could lower the mother’s blood count. Giving chemo during this period increases the chances of mother infecting the newborn baby during birth and also can result in excessive bleeding. Delaying chemotherapy during the last few weeks of delivery allows the blood count of the mother to return to normal before the birth of the baby and hence little chance of affecting the new-born.

Another method of treatment is radiotherapy. The method is used to prevent the risk of cancer coming back after carrying out the breast-conserving test. The radiations used during this period are dangerous, and they can harm the fetus during any time of pregnancy. These radiations can result to harm like slow fetal growth, miscarriage, birth defect or even increasing the risk of childhood cancer. Due to this harms radiotherapy is never used during the pregnancy period.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Pregnant women who choose to undergo partial mastectomy or even lumpectomy may undergo the surgery but then wait until they deliver in order to get radiation therapy. This mode of treatment is usually not advisable since waiting for so long before the induction is done increases the chances of cancer getting back.

Another treatment method is hormone therapy. This mode of treatment is usually done as adjuvant treatment after surgery. It is also used as the treatment for advanced breast cancer in women whose breast cancer has positive receptor hormone. The types of drugs used for early cancer treatment in hormone therapy includes exemestane, anastrozole, tamozifen and letrozole (Ogden, 2004). Other different types of drugs are used in hormone therapy for treatment of advanced breast cancer. Hormone therapy should be delayed until the woman gives birth. This is because when used during pregnancy it can affect the fetus.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

And lastly there is biological treatment or the use of targeted drugs. The following types of drugs are used includes trastuzumad (Herceptin), lapatinib (tykerb) and bevacizumab (Avastin).
Trastuzumad (Herceptin) is an antibody that targets and destroys all the cancer cells that are HER2-positive. Lapatinib (Tykerd) normally targets the HERB2 protein. This drug is used in the treatment of an advanced metastatic breast cancer. Bevacizumab (Avastin) drug usually starves the tumor by stops the cancer cell from attracting new blood vessels.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Breastfeeding during cancer treatment
Women who had just delivered babies and were yet to be treated for the breast cancer are normally advised by doctors, not breastfeed their babies. If there is a planned surgery, stopping breastfeeding will make the breast smaller by reducing the blood flow to the breast. This also reduce the risk of the cancer spreading to other body parts and also prevent breast milk collection in the biopsy.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

The targeted drug therapy, chemo, and hormone can be passed to the infant through the milk during breastfeeding. For the mother under these treatments, breastfeeding is not recommended. It is advisable for a woman to enquire from their doctor or health team on the appropriate time to start breastfeeding. If you have stopped breastfeeding for a while and you want to start it back again, you need to seek assistance from breastfeeding expert.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay


Pulling all the treatment plans together
Sometimes a challenge may occur during the treatment. This is when the best-known treatment for the mother conflicts with the well-being of the unborn baby. This may makes it very difficult for a pregnant woman, who has a breast cancer, to make a choice. When such a scenario occurs, it is advisable for one to know all her treatment plans and then consult an expert. Your obstetrician must work with your radiation oncologist, surgeon ecologist and all the other experts involved in your treatment. A psychologist or counselor should also be among the health team in order to provide the required emotional support.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

The survival chances after breast cancer during pregnancy
All discussed, it is very difficult to find, diagnose and cure breast cancer during pregnancy. Researchers have found that outcome resulting from non-pregnant and pregnant women diagnosed with the breast cancer are the same, but not all scholars who agreed with the findings. A research conducted it year 2013 studied more than three hundred women diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy. During the 5 years research, the researchers compared the survival rates in women during the same stage in which the breast cancer was detected and when they were not pregnant (Ali, Gupta, Sehgal, ; Vogel, 2012). The disease-free survival chance was found to be slightly higher in non-pregnant women than in pregnant women.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Some doctors recommend ending of the pregnancy for women with advanced breast cancer. This is because they tend to believe that termination of pregnancy will help slow the advancement of more breast cancer. Researchers have found it hard to conduct research on this area due to lack of proper and unbiased studies (Azim, Bellettini, Liptrott, Armeni, Dell’Acqua, Torti, ; Peccatori, 2010). Ending the pregnancy increases the simplicity of cancer treatment that is in contrast to the older studies that reported that ending the mother’s pregnancy does not improve cancer outcome neither does it improve mother’s overall treatment.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Studies have not also shown whether the delayed treatment of breast cancer in pregnant women have an effect on the breast cancer outcome. This area has also proved very difficult for the researchers to study.

Treating Breast Cancer During Pregnancy
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant, your treatment options will be more complicated because you will want to get the best treatment for your cancer while also protecting the baby. The type and timing of treatment will need to be planned carefully and coordinated between your cancer care team and your obstetrician.

The goal when treating a pregnant woman with breast cancer is the same as when treating a non-pregnant woman: to cure the cancer whenever possible, or to control it and keep it from spreading if it can’t be cured. But the extra concern of protecting a growing fetus may make treatment more complicated.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Is it safe to have breast cancer treatment during pregnancy?
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. Pregnant women can safely get treatment for breast cancer, although the types of treatment used and the timing of treatment might be affected by the pregnancy. If you are pregnant and have been diagnosed with breast cancer, your treatment recommendations will depend on:Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

The size of the tumor
Where the tumor is located
If the cancer has spread and if so, how far
How far along you are in the pregnancy
Your overall health
Your personal preferences
It is generally safe to have surgery for breast cancer while you’re pregnant. 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. Other breast cancer treatments, such as hormone therapy, targeted therapy, and radiation therapy, are more likely to harm the baby and are not usually given during pregnancy.

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. For example, if a woman is found to have breast cancer early in her pregnancy and needs chemotherapy right away, she may be advised to think about ending the pregnancy. A counselor or psychologist should also be part of your health care team to help give you the emotional support you may need.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Some older studies found that ending a pregnancy in order to have cancer treatment didn’t improve a woman’s prognosis (outlook). Even though there were flaws in these studies, ending the pregnancy is no longer routinely recommended when breast cancer is found. Still, this option may be discussed when looking at all the treatment choices available, especially for aggressive cancers that may need treatment right away, such as inflammatory breast cancer.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Breast cancer surgery during pregnancy
Surgery to remove the cancer in the breast and nearby lymph nodes is a major part of treatment for any woman with early breast cancer, and generally is safe in pregnancy.

Options for breast cancer surgery might include:

Removing the entire breast (mastectomy)
Removing just the part containing the cancer
(lumpectomy or breast-conserving surgery [BCS])
Mastectomy is used more often for pregnant women with breast cancer because most women who have BCS need radiation therapy afterward. If radiation is given during pregnancy, it could affect the baby, so it can’t be given until after delivery. But delaying radiation too long could increase the chance of the cancer coming back.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

If the cancer is found in the third trimester, BCS might be an option because there might be little or no delay in radiation treatments, especially if chemotherapy is planned after surgery. Radiation is normally given after chemotherapy treatments are complete. But if the cancer is found early in the pregnancy, it could mean a longer delay in starting radiation. For women in this situation, mastectomy is likely a better option than BCS followed by radiation.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Checking lymph nodes for cancer spread
In addition to removing the tumor in the breast, one or more lymph nodes in the armpit (axillary lymph nodes) also need to be removed to check for cancer spread. One way to do this is an axillary lymph node dissection (ALND). This removes many of the lymph nodes under the arm. Another procedure, called a sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB), might be an option depending on how far along you are in pregnancy and your cancer stage. This procedure uses slightly radioactive tracers and a blue dye to pinpoint the nodes most likely to contain cancer cells. SLNB allows the doctor to remove fewer nodes. But there are concerns about the effects the SLNB dye might have on the baby. Because of these concerns, some experts recommend that SLNB be used only later in pregnancy, and that the blue dye not be used during the procedure.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Is anesthesia safe during pregnancy?
Surgery for breast cancer generally carries little risk to the baby. But there are certain times in pregnancy when anesthesia (the drugs used to make you sleep for surgery) may be riskier for the baby.

Your surgeon and anesthesiologist, along with a high-risk obstetrician, will need to work together to decide the best time during pregnancy to do the operation. If the surgery is done later in the pregnancy, your obstetrician may be there just in case there are any problems with the baby during surgery. Together, your doctors will decide which anesthesia drugs and techniques are the safest for both you and the baby.

Treatment after surgery
Depending on the cancer’s stage, you may need more treatment such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and/or targeted therapy after surgery to help lower the risk of the cancer coming back. This is called adjuvant treatment. In some cases, this treatment can be put off until after delivery.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Chemotherapy (chemo) may be used after surgery (as adjuvant treatment) for some earlier stages of breast cancer. It also may be used by itself for more advanced cancers.

Chemo is not given during the first 3 months (first trimester) of pregnancy. Because a lot of the baby’s development occurs during this time, the safety of chemo hasn’t been studied in the first trimester. The risk of miscarriage (losing the baby) is also the greatest during this time.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

For many years, it was thought that all chemo would harm an unborn baby no matter when it was given. 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. Researchers still don’t know if these children will have any long-term effects.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

If you have early breast cancer and you need chemo after surgery (adjuvant chemo), it will usually be delayed until at least your second trimester. If you are already in the third trimester when the cancer is found, the chemo may be delayed until after birth. The birth may be induced (brought on) a few weeks early in some cases. These same treatment plans may also be used for women with more advanced cancer.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Chemo is generally not recommended after 35 weeks of pregnancy or within 3 weeks of delivery because it can lower the mother’s blood cell counts. This could cause bleeding and increase the chances of infection during birth. Holding off on chemo for the last few weeks before delivery allows the mother’s blood counts to return to normal before childbirth.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Treatments that typically are on hold until after delivery
Some treatments for breast cancer can harm the baby and are not safe during pregnancy. If these treatments are needed, they are usually scheduled after the baby is born.

Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy to the breast is often used after breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) to help reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. The high doses of radiation used for this can harm the baby any time during pregnancy. This may cause miscarriage, birth defects, slow fetal growth, or a higher risk of childhood cancer. Because of this, doctors don’t use radiation treatment during pregnancy.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

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. But this treatment approach has not been well-studied. Waiting too long to start radiation can increase the chance of the cancer coming back.

Hormone therapy: Hormone therapy is often used as treatment after surgery or as treatment for advanced breast cancer in women with hormone receptor-positive (estrogen or progesterone) breast cancer. Hormone therapy drugs used for breast cancer include tamoxifen, anastrozole, letrozole, and exemestane.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Hormone therapy should not be given during pregnancy because it can affect the baby. It should be delayed until after the woman has given birth.

Targeted therapy: Drugs that target HER2, such as trastuzumab (Herceptin), pertuzumab (Perjeta), ado-trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla) and lapatinib (Tykerb), are an important part of the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancers. In women who aren’t pregnant, trastuzumab is used as a part of treatment after surgery, pertuzumab can be used with trastuzumab before surgery, and all of these drugs can be useful in treating advanced cancer. But based on studies of women who were treated during pregnancy, none of these drugs are considered safe for the baby if taken during pregnancy.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Everolimus (Afinitor) and palbociclib (Ibrance) are also targeted drugs that can be used with hormone therapy to treat advanced breast cancer. Again, these drugs are thought to be unsafe to use during pregnancy.

Can I breastfeed during cancer treatment?
Most doctors recommend that women who have just had babies and are about to be treated for breast cancer should stop (or not start) breastfeeding.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

If breast surgery is planned, stopping breastfeeding will help reduce blood flow to the breasts and make them smaller. This can help with the operation. It also helps reduce the risk of infection in the breast and can help avoid breast milk collecting in biopsy or surgery areas.

Many chemo, hormone, and targeted therapy drugs can enter breast milk and be passed on to the baby. Breastfeeding isn’t recommended if you are getting chemo, hormone, or targeted therapy.

If you have questions, such as when it might be safe to start breastfeeding, talk with your health care team. If you plan to start breastfeeding after you’ve stopped for a while, plan ahead. Breastfeeding (lactation) experts can give you extra help if you need it.

How does pregnancy affect survival rates for breast cancer?
Pregnancy can make it harder to find, diagnose, and treat breast cancer. Most studies 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.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay

Some doctors believe that ending the pregnancy may help slow the course of more advanced breast cancers, and they may recommend that for some women with advanced breast cancer. It’s hard to do research in this area, and good, unbiased studies don’t exist. Ending the pregnancy makes treatment simpler, but so far no evidence shows that ending the pregnancy improves a woman’s overall survival or cancer outcome.

Studies have not shown that the treatment delays that are sometimes needed during pregnancy have an effect on breast cancer outcome, either. But this, too, has proven to be a difficult area to study. Finally, there are no reports showing that breast cancer itself can harm the baby.Breast Cancer And Pregnancy Essay