Breast Cancer And Pregnancy

Breast Cancer And Pregnancy

Although it​ is​ rare for​ breast cancer to​ strike younger women, the​ fact remains that all women are at​ risk. and​ for​ those of​ childbearing age, the​ first sign and​ symptoms of​ breast cancer leading to​ a​ diagnosis can not only be upsetting and​ unexpected, but complicated as​ well.

Developing breast cancer at​ a​ younger age—in a​ woman’s 40s, 30s, even 20s—will mean making important and​ difficult decisions about one’s life and​ future perhaps much sooner than originally expected.

One concern is​ developing breast cancer during pregnancy, which although rare, can still occur. in​ this case, the​ treatment chosen will not only affect the​ patient and​ her body, but the​ growing baby inside her as​ well. it​ will depend on what stage of​ pregnancy she is​ in​ (first, second or​ third trimester) and​ what stage her cancer is​ in—such as​ whether or​ not it’s advanced.

Most pregnant women can have treatment for​ their breast cancer without affecting the​ baby. But some might be advised by their obstetrician or​ health-care practitioner—or even decide themselves—to terminate the​ pregnancy, more so if​ the​ pregnancy is​ in​ its earlier stages, in​ order to​ receive certain treatments that would be too risky otherwise. But it​ is​ essential to​ remember that it​ is​ a​ woman’s own decision—it is​ not medically necessary to​ terminate a​ pregnancy if​ the​ expectant mother is​ diagnosed with breast cancer. All it​ does is​ limit treatment options. Breast cancer itself will not affect the​ fetus—only certain tests and​ treatments will.

Generally speaking, tamoxifen, chemotherapy, radiation, and​ other drug-related therapies are avoided if​ the​ woman is​ pregnant because of​ their associated risks with birth defects. Tamoxifen, especially, is​ considered very unsafe because it​ is​ a​ hormonal therapy and​ is​ never recommended if​ the​ woman is​ pregnant or​ planning on conceiving.

Surgery—either a​ lumpectomy or​ mastectomy—is the​ most common and​ preferred method of​ treatment for​ breast cancer in​ pregnant women.

Another concern is​ whether or​ not breast cancer survivors can or​ should go on to​ have children after treatment and​ recovery. It’s a​ very controversial issue with firm advocates on both sides of​ the​ debate.

There are two main questions here, for​ both the​ medical and​ health community and​ breast cancer survivors wanting their own children: 1) Do certain breast cancer treatments affect fertility?; and​ 2) is​ it​ actually considered safe to​ conceive and​ carry a​ baby to​ term following breast cancer and​ breast cancer treatments?

As far as​ fertility goes, there is​ no definite answer here. for​ chemotherapy, it​ depends on the​ age and​ what specific drug was used—some affect fertility more than others. and​ taking tamoxifen after chemotherapy to​ prevent recurrence is​ not recommended if​ the​ woman desires to​ become pregnant right away. Although tamoxifen is​ sometimes used as​ a​ fertility treatment, there is​ evidence to​ suggest that it​ damages developing embryos, and​ therefore is​ not considered safe to​ use.

Many doctors caution these women to​ wait several years to​ ensure receiving the​ best breast cancer treatment possible and​ to​ go past the​ point of​ the​ biggest threat of​ breast cancer recurrence. But some women decide to​ go ahead and​ have babies anyway, since it’s so important to​ them.

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