How to Handle Breast Cancer During Pregnancy!

Pregnancy is a wonderful time for most women but if there is a disturbing news of being affected by cancer then it mars the joy. Treatment options however complicated are available also during this phase. You will of course have to opt for the best available methods because the life of your baby is a major concern here. The course of action has to be planned carefully with your obstetrician and cancer concern team. The primary aim here is to contain the cancer and prevent it from spreading while ensuring protection to the fetus.

If you are pregnant treatment options are available but they have to be discussed with both the teams of doctors. The methods of treatment will depend on certain factors like:

·         Tumour size
·         Location
·         Spread of the illness
·         Duration of pregnancy
·         General health of the patient
·         Preferences

Whatever the treatment procedure, surgery or chemotherapy, depends on the condition of the patient. Usually surgery is considered safe during pregnancy and is applicable in the early stages of cancer. Surgery options include mastectomy which is the removal of the whole breast or breast-conserving surgery also known as lumpectomy which involves removal of only the affected portion of the breast. The former type of surgery is mostly performed on pregnant women because lumpectomy requires radiation after the surgery which is not possible during this time. There is a greater possibility of the baby getting affected in case the mother receives radiation. On the other hand, if radiation is not performed as soon as possible after the surgery the chances of the cancer relapsing is huge. Along with the surgery certain lymph nodes located in the arm pit also have to be removed to prevent the cancer cells from spreading.

Apart from surgery, the other treatment methods include targeted therapy, hormone therapy, and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is a great option but cannot be administered in the first trimester. This is because in the first three months the internal organs of the infant is developing so the chances of a miscarriage is the greatest. Also, it will not be administered three weeks prior to the delivery. The treatment of breast cancer during pregnancy has to be performed carefully at all time and in consultation with the patient and the doctors. Some of the treatment methods that should be performed only after delivery includes radiation therapy, hormone therapy and targeted therapy.

After the treatment ends, various kinds of oncology pregnancy medicine are advised which should be routinely taken by the patient.Women to be treated for cancer after delivery should not breastfeed babies. If she is to receive either of the targeted, radiation or hormone then also breastfeeding is not possible. Ending the pregnancy is always an option but that should not be the preferred option because treatment methods have evolved over time. However, in case of complicated medical situations it is an option often availed by women. But there is no evidence to show that cancer in itself harms the unborn child even though the treatment methods might.

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