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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

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  • Kristin Burghard Profile

    Should I take tamoxifen or have my ovaries removed?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 2 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Morning Kristen I pondered the same question in 2008. Did a lot of research saw an gyn oncologist and talked to a lot of other doctors. I also had a negative BRCA I and II Gene testing is the first requirement with a positive BRCA I and II for insurance to cover the removal of your ovaries. ...

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      Morning Kristen I pondered the same question in 2008. Did a lot of research saw an gyn oncologist and talked to a lot of other doctors. I also had a negative BRCA I and II Gene testing is the first requirement with a positive BRCA I and II for insurance to cover the removal of your ovaries. At least here in Hawaii. I was willing to pay for the procedure on my own at first. But after researching how estrogen is produced in your body I discovered that your ovaries are only partly producing estrogen you also produce estrogen from your adrenal glands so even with your ovaries removed you would still have to take some form of an estrogen blocker ... I still have my ovaries have been on tamoxifen for three years and am officially menopausal now so was switched to arimedix which I will take for another 5 years. I've read that there is research going on in finding another medication that breast cancer survivors will take for life. Have to say I was counting down two more years of tamoxifen so was hit with a hard blow when my doctor advised me to switch to arimedix for another 5 years. Took me a couple of months to warm up to the idea but bottom line is I really don't want another reoccurrence and if there is something that could possibly prevent it got to go with it. Take care

      3 comments
    • Karen Locklear Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had to have my ovaries removed because I could not take tamoxifen. I had major side effects at first and then became allergic to it. After surgery, I am now on Femaria and other than bone pain, I am doing well taking it. I know a good many women that could not take tamoxifen for several...

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      I had to have my ovaries removed because I could not take tamoxifen. I had major side effects at first and then became allergic to it. After surgery, I am now on Femaria and other than bone pain, I am doing well taking it. I know a good many women that could not take tamoxifen for several reasons. I would have my ovaries removed if I were you. I hope this helps!!! God Bless You!!!

      2 comments
  • Jennifer Jones Profile

    I'm 3 days post-op and I have almost no pain but I'm tired. Is this normal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    over 7 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Yes, anesthesia is part of it but you've also had major surgery (really major if you had mastectomy) so your body is wiped out.

      Comment
    • cindy stephenson Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Yep- I was tired for a few weeks. Just rest and eat alot of protein and push fluids.

      Comment
  • Sarah Phinney Profile

    I'm having a double mastectomy and reconstruction later this week. What are helpful things to know beforehand (recovery, life after, etc,) that I might not have been told by the doctor?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 8 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Sarah, I had my double mastectomy in Oct.  There are a few things that other women told me that helped me a great deal. For your hospital stay bring some pants with an elastic waist, and a button down, or zip up top. I was sent home in a surgical bra but had a camisole with pockets to hold my...

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      Hi Sarah, I had my double mastectomy in Oct.  There are a few things that other women told me that helped me a great deal. For your hospital stay bring some pants with an elastic waist, and a button down, or zip up top. I was sent home in a surgical bra but had a camisole with pockets to hold my drains that I wore afterwards. Most insurance companies will cover surgical bras, camisoles, etc. There are"Pink Pockets" you can order online that will attach to the inside of your clothing as well to hold your drain bulbs. When taking a bath I used a long shoestring to loop my drain bulbs around my neck to keep them out of the way while bathing. You can also use a lanyard. I brought two small pillows with me to go under each arm on my ride home to make it more comfortable.  :).  If you have a recliner that would be awesome. It was a lifesaver for me. You will have to sleep on your back for awhile & I was so much more comfortable in my recliner than anywhere. If you don't have one, get several pillows so you can prop yourself up to a comfortable position. Be kind to yourself. It's emotionally hard losing your breasts. Get plenty of rest. I'll say a prayer for you in your healing. Come back here anytime you have questions or just need an ear. There are some awesome women here that have been in your shoes. Best wishes Sarah!

      1 comment
    • Trish Watt Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      One more thing, let people help, it makes THEM feel better. The other thing I learned from my oncology nurse is not to let the pain get ahead of you, as soon as your uncomfortable take your medicine......you will not become addicted to them, your body will let you know when to stop. The other...

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      One more thing, let people help, it makes THEM feel better. The other thing I learned from my oncology nurse is not to let the pain get ahead of you, as soon as your uncomfortable take your medicine......you will not become addicted to them, your body will let you know when to stop. The other thing I didn't expect is that this is a long process......I had my bi-lateral mastectomy March of 2010, implant surgery December 2010, nipple placement (if you decide to go that route) March 2011 and my final tattooing in November 2011. As you can see it's a slow process and indeed it needs to be. Let your body recover between surgeries and let your incisions heal. Everything I went through was worth it and I now don't worry about the cancer coming back as much as before....it literally and physically takes a great weight off of your mind. Good luck, I'll check back to see how you are doing.

      Comment

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