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Dealing with Breast Cancer During Pregnancy

By Jody Smith HERWriter
 
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Dealing with Breast Cancer During Pregnancy 2 5 1
if you have breast cancer while pregnant
Auremar/PhotoSpin

The news that you are pregnant can be thrilling and overwhelming. You may be delighted, terrified or both.

Throw in a breast cancer diagnosis though and fear can win the day.

Arming yourself with information will help you get through the challenging days ahead of you.

Breast cancer is harder to detect when you're pregnant because your breasts become enlarged and more prone to lumps. This can mean that the cancer may be at a more advanced stage when it is discovered.

Breast lumps that are benign (not cancerous) are not unusual during pregnancy. To be sure though, you should see a doctor if you find a lump.

Breast cancer can cause the shape or size of your breast to change. A thickened area or lump may appear near your breast or under your arm.

A puckering or dimple in your breast or a nipple turning inward may indicate the presence of breast cancer.

If you have redness or scaliness on your nipple or areola, or if fluid that is not breast milk exudes from the nipple you should see your doctor.

Keep in mind, none of these symptoms are necessarily indications of breast cancer. But they should be investigated to be sure one way or the other.

Breast cancer discovered during pregnancy may have moved into the lymph nodes by the time it's found. Denser breast tissue can also make it more difficult to accurately interpret mammogram results during pregnancy.

One test that may be used in checking for breast cancer is a clinical breast exam or CBE. Your doctor will feel for lumps or any abnormalities in your breasts and underarms.

If your doctor decides you need a breast biopsy while you are pregnant, a piece of tissue will be removed with a long needle or through a small incision. This is often done on an outpatient basis.

If the biopsy finds breast cancer your doctor will want to perform a process called staging. This will determine how advanced the cancer is.

Treatment of the cancer will be affected by a number of factors.

Where is the tumor? How big is it?

Has the cancer spread? How far? How far into your pregnancy are you?

Ultrasound and MRI scans may be used to gain more information.

Add a Comment1 Comments

Marielaina Perrone DDS Blogger

I have had a few patients diagnosed with breast cancer
during their pregnancy
. Cancer is a terrible disease by itself but its that much more tragic during this time of joy. I am amazed by how strong the human spirit is.
Marielaina Perrone DDS
Henderson Dental Implants

October 23, 2012 - 11:39am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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