Pregnancy is a boon but it can be scavenged with the threat of breast cancer. Breast cancer impacts around 1 in 3000 pregnant women and is the second most common malignancy affecting women in their reproductive years.
Pregnancy-associated breast cancer (PABC) is termed as breast cancer identify throughout pregnancy or in the first postpartum year.
Medical experts claim that the majority of women are delaying conception and there is a rampant increase in breast cancer rates, doctors anticipate more diagnoses of PABC.
Diagnosis of Pregnancy Associated Breast Cancer
Breast cancer during pregnancy is most likely found in the first trimester during the doctor’s visit and breast examination. Obstetricians perform a thorough breast mass examination during initial visits and also reinforce self-examination throughout pregnancy.
A breast thickening may occur suspicion and a breast ultrasound can help characterize the mass and identify any concerning features. More than 80% of breast masses identified in pregnancy represent benign pathologies.
Ultrasound has been noted to be 100% accurate in detecting a mass in patients with PABC
women understand with breast cancer while pregnancy can be in the difficult stages at the time of finding and a thorough evaluation of possible metastasis is prioritized. Breast cancer can metastasize to the lungs, liver, and bone.
Not Recommended During Pregnancy
- Gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging is not recommended unless there is a specific need for it to investigate a clinical problem; there are limited data for the use of this imaging order in pregnancy, although no adverse impacts of gadolinium on the fetus have been reported.
- Tumor markers such as CA15-3, CEA, and CA125 are not used in early breast cancer and may be misleading in pregnancy, and are not recommended.
- Bone scanning and pelvic X-ray computed tomography are not recommended because of the possible effect of irradiation on the baby in the womb.
Expected Treatment For Breast Cancer During Pregnancy
- Surgical clearance or mastectomy can be considered.
- Radiotherapy is contraindicated until delivery unless necessary for life-saving.
- Systemic chemotherapy is contraindicated in the first trimester but may be considered in the second trimester.
It is noted that most women can go through a full term of pregnancy and have a regular or induced delivery. If the mother is on chemotherapy, delivery should be after 2-3 weeks of the last chemotherapy session.
It is observed that breast cancer patients on tamoxifen are advised to stop this treatment 3 months before trying to conceive because of the long half-life of the drug and to have any regular imaging before trying to conceive.
Breast Cancer Survivors
Women are influenced by specialists that long-term survival after breast cancer is not adversely harmed by pregnancy.
Since many breast cancers are estrogen receptor-positive and endocrine responsive, women used to be recommended against pregnancy because of concerns that it would worsen prognosis.
However, the evidence from the published studies is reassuring, showing either no impact on survival or improved survival.