Breast Cancer During Pregnancy - 4 Causes & 4 Treatments You Should Be Aware Of

Breast Cancer During Pregnancy

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October is the Breast Cancer Awareness Month all over the world and we can’t wait to share all about it to you, dear moms!

Breast cancer awareness is an initiative that aims to understand, discuss and share the sense of well-being of every woman. While millions of women all over the world have been diagnosed and treated for the condition, there is a lot of work that still needs to be done in this aspect. There is no solid cure for breast cancer. The sooner you detect the early signs signs of breast cancer during pregnancy and report to your doctor, the better it is!

Pregnancy And Breast Cancer:

Did you know that breast cancer can come at any phase of life? Pregnancy is no exception! The common myth is that women with no children are more prone to falling prey to cancer. But you cannot overlook the fact that sometimes, women can develop cancer symptoms even while they are pregnant.

What Causes Breast Cancer During Pregnancy?

Although rare, cancer cells in the breasts c

an sometimes develop during the three trimesters. The main causes for women to develop breast cancer during pregnancy are:

  • Spike in the production of pregnancy hormones estrogen and progesterone that enable the cancer cells to grow and multiply.
  • Genetic predisposition that triggers the onset of cancer during pregnancy when the reproductive part of a woman is in action mode.
  • Family history of cancers.
  • Late pregnancies where the risk of developing cancer is high.

[ Read: Breast Pain During Pregnancy ]

Why Is It Difficult To Check For Breast Cancer During Pregnancy?

Most times it is highly difficult to spot and diagnose pregnant women with breast cancer. This is because your hormonal shifts tend to change your breasts forever.

  • Your breasts may look large, tender and lumpy. It becomes difficult to find the presence of any lumps, as pregnancy makes the breast tissue denser.
  • You or your doctor won’t be able to notice the presence of the cancer lump until it grows large enough to stand out.

The delayed diagnosis because of pregnancy, makes it tougher to treat breast cancer in the later stages. By this time the cancer cells have grown enough to do the damage.

[ Read: Sore Breast During Pregnancy ]

How To Check For Breast Cancer During Pregnancy?

No matter how small, if you happen to notice a lump, do not hesitate to raise the red flag with your doctor.

  • A mammogram is not usually recommended when you are pregnant. Your doctor may take a call based on what stage of pregnancy you are in.
  • Imaging tests can also confirm the doubt.
  • Your doctor will call for a biopsy in case of any massive changes in your breasts.
  • Once a mammogram is recommended you will be put under the radiation with extra care. The radiation will focus only on your breasts while shielding the other parts of the body. The radiologist will place a lead shield on the lower part of your body covering your uterus.

Diagnosing Breast Cancer During Pregnancy:

In case your doctor finds an abnormal lump via mammogram or imaging tests a biopsy will be done to take the tissue from the lump to test for cancer.

  • The biopsy can be done via a surgical incision cut (in patient) or a simple needle (out-patient) procedure.
  • The area will be numbed with anesthesia before inserting the needle to take the tissue out.

[ Read: Breast Care During Pregnancy ]