Breast Cancer During Pregnancy: Find Out How It Is Treated

Breast Cancer Treatment During Pregnancy

Breast cancer is the most frequent type of cancer in women, affecting over 2.1 million women and killing over 500,000 people each year. Breast cancer aetiology is complex and heterogeneous, with innumerable pathological features that directly correlate with treatment options and disease prognosis. Breast cancer that develops during pregnancy is frequently diagnosed in advanced stages, making treatment more difficult.

Common Tests That Are Safe During Pregnancy

Common Tests That Are Safe During Pregnancy

Breast cancer during pregnancy can be tested with some common tests. Some tests are aimed at gathering data about your baby’s health and may assist you in optimising your child’s prenatal care and development.

1. Mammography:

Screening mammography is a type of breast imaging that uses low-dose x-rays to detect early cancer, symptoms, and when it is most highly curable.

2. Sonography:

Sonography is a term used to describe the use of sound waves for producing images inside the upper part of the abdomen. It is employed to assess the liver, kidneys, gallbladder, pancreas, bile ducts, spleen, and aorta of the abdomen as well as to help diagnose pain or distention (enlargement).

3. Core needle biopsy:

A hollow needle is used by the doctor to extract pieces of breast tissue from a suspicious area felt during an exam or seen on an imaging test. The needle may be attached to a spring-loaded tool that rapidly moves the needle in and out of the tissue, or it may be attached to a suction device that aids in the removal of breast tissue.

4. Chest x-ray With abdominal shielding:

Abdominal shields used throughout PA chest radiography provide a small dose reduction to organs at depth by removing primary X-ray beam photons dispersed in the air while increasing skin dose due to X-rays scattered from the internal surface of the abdomen shield.

5. Abdominal Ultrasound:

An abdominal ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure that is used to evaluate the structures and organs of the abdomen. The liver, gallbladder, pancreas, bile ducts, spleen, and abdominal aorta are all included. The use of ultrasound technology enables the rapid visualisation of abdominal structures and organs beyond the body.

6. MRI abdomen after the first trimester:

MRI should be performed only after consulting with radiology faculty during the first trimester. Breastfeeding can be resumed without interruption after iodinated contrast or gadolinium administration to a lactating patient.

7. Low dose bone scan:

A bone scan is a nuclear imaging test that is used to diagnose and track various types of bone disease. Nuclear imaging is a technique that uses small amounts of radioactive substances (radiotracers), a special camera that detects radioactivity, and a desktop to visualise structures such as bone fragments inside the body.

Breast Cancer Treatment During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant and diagnose breast cancer, your treatment options will be more complicated because you will want to receive the appropriate treatment for your cancer while also protecting the baby. The type and timing of treatment must be carefully planned and coordinated by your cancer care team and obstetrician.

Removal of cancer from the breast and nearby lymph nodes is an essential component of treatment for any woman with early-stage breast cancer and is generally safe during pregnancy.

Breast cancer surgery choices may include:

  • Taking out the entire breast (mastectomy)
  • Taking out only the cancerous portion (lumpectomy or breast-conserving surgery [BCS])

The type of surgery a woman may undergo is determined by the extent of her cancer and when the cancer is discovered during her pregnancy.

Pregnant Women Under 12 Weeks Of Pregnancy

Women Under And More Than 12 Weeks Of Pregnancy

Chemotherapy is avoided if the woman is less than 12 weeks pregnant. This is because radiation cannot be administered until after the delivery, a mastectomy may be regarded. Medical termination of pregnancy could be considered based on the patient’s wishes and in cases of advanced disease in the first trimester.

Pregnant For More Than 12 Weeks

If the lump is operable, the first course of action is a mastectomy or breast conservation surgery. Adjuvant chemotherapy can be administered after delivery at 35-37 weeks. If the lump is locally advanced (cancer has spread), the first step in treatment is generally neoadjuvant chemotherapy.


With all the above information, it becomes crystal clear that breast cancer in pregnant women can be caused but it is treatable with proper treatment by experts. Diseases can be caused at any time; however, the important thing is how we react to them. Stay calm and look for the best oncologist in Noida.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does breast cancer harm a child?

Cancer cannot be passed down to your child. Furthermore, there is no evidence that your child will develop cancer because you diagnose breast cancer while pregnant.

2. Is pregnancy hasten the progression of breast cancer?

It doesn’t happen often, but expectant mothers can develop breast cancer. Pregnancy does not cause cancer, but the changes in hormones caused by pregnancy can hasten the disease’s progression.

3. Is it safe to have chemotherapy while pregnant?

Chemotherapy can be safely administered after the first trimester. This is because the baby’s organs develop during the first 12-14 weeks of pregnancy. Chemotherapy is generally safe for both the mother and the baby during the second and third trimesters, after the baby’s organs have fully developed, according to research.

4. Which type of breast cancer is most common in pregnant women?

Breast cancer in pregnant women is histologically similar to that in nulliparous women; approximately 75-90 percent of tumors are invasive ductal carcinomas of no special type (NST) (21-26). In patients with PABC, invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) and other histological types are uncommon.

5. Why does early pregnancy reduce the risk of breast cancer?

Immature breast cells respond to both estrogen and hormone-disrupting chemicals in products. Breast cells fully mature and grow more regularly during your first full-term pregnancy. This is the primary reason why childbirth can help prevent breast cancer.


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Dr. Vikas Goswami, M.B.B.S. from MAMC, M.D. in Internal Medicine, ECMO, and D.N.B. in Medical Oncology, is a Senior Consultant and experienced Oncologist with 17 years of experience in the field of medicine. He is an excellent speaker and presented his knowledge of Oncology at national & international conferences and workshops. Book an Appointment View Details

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