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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

  • marianne  hayes Profile

    should I delay my bilateral mastectomy to have reconstruction at the same time or have a 2-stage op? I'm so confused. I have a stage II from biop 18mm lump in the upper outside quadrant of my left breast.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 2 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Marianne. That's a very tough decision. You mentioned...should you delay having your bilateral mastectomy to have reconstruction. I'm just curious about the delay question. I didn't have the option for immediate reconstruction due to my late stage of cancer, it being in my chest wall, etc. I...

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      Hi Marianne. That's a very tough decision. You mentioned...should you delay having your bilateral mastectomy to have reconstruction. I'm just curious about the delay question. I didn't have the option for immediate reconstruction due to my late stage of cancer, it being in my chest wall, etc. I am almost finished with radiation and I will have reconstruction when I'm healed from that. I have heard both good and bad arguments both ways. I know when choosing expanders then implants, there's the chance of capsular contracture when doing radiation. Thats the negative. The positive is that when you wake from surgery...you will have something there. Another thing to consider is the fact that if you choose to wait...your skin tightens a good bit during radiation and your skin in the radiated area may not be enough to do the expanders & implants. But then of course you can choose another such as DIEP flap (which they'll do a mini tummy tuck as well) or another type. I am going to be visiting plastic surgeons soon Best wishes in whatever you decide. :)

      Comment
    • Wendy DeLong Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I am a stage 2A dx'd on 12/8/11. My tumor was 1.5 cm in left breast. I had left side mastectomy with expander insertion on Jan 9. For me the mastectomy was the first step in treatment. Starting the reconstruction at the same time was an option for me and I opted for it. I'm glad I did it. ...

      more

      I am a stage 2A dx'd on 12/8/11. My tumor was 1.5 cm in left breast. I had left side mastectomy with expander insertion on Jan 9. For me the mastectomy was the first step in treatment. Starting the reconstruction at the same time was an option for me and I opted for it. I'm glad I did it. Not because I still feel like I have a breast because this expander is a good ways from what I am thinking my perm implant will eventually look like...... But because I feel like its one less thing to do later. I am ER PR and HER -. My sentinal node did show some cancer while the remaining 12 were clean. My mastectomy biopsy found only precancerous cells in the area that surrounded the original tumor and nothing else in the whole breast. Last week I finished my 4th A/C which was my last. I start 12 weeks of Taxol on April 12 and then I will do 5 years of the hormone pill as well. Once I'm done the end if June with Taxol, ( if all goes well), I plan to do right side mastectomy with expander as soon as I am well enough. This has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I'm a go getter.... But this AC gives me a run!! But I just take my "medicine" because I have to. I have a loving supportive family and lots of friends praying for me. I am excited about starting the next step of my treatment as it puts me one step closer to being done.!! All your posts are an Inspiration to me. I wish you all the best! Love and prayers- :)

      Comment
  • anonymous Profile

    Doctor wants to surgically remove 3-6 nodes using radioactive blue dye (not sure I want to be radioactive and certainly not turned blue) to test for cancer. Any cons to this? Has anyone done this?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    about 6 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Mimi Carroll Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It saves you from having more nodes taken them you need out. With just taking nodes I had 13 taken and only 3 had cancer.... Would have much preferred to just have the 3 taken. Lots of tests they do for cancer are radio active.. You pee it out quicly- drink lot s of fluid... PET scan and...

      more

      It saves you from having more nodes taken them you need out. With just taking nodes I had 13 taken and only 3 had cancer.... Would have much preferred to just have the 3 taken. Lots of tests they do for cancer are radio active.. You pee it out quicly- drink lot s of fluid... PET scan and Muga are radioactive... It is really hard to think about all of these toxic substance going in .. .

      Comment
    • sharon s Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      You pee the radioactivity out that day. A dye MRI and post surgery is radiation usually. You just have to get over it to give you the best control.

      Drink lots of water. Open the liver with citrus and coffee on an empty stomach
      Read about Tumeric and take a great probiotic.

      I get what...

      more

      You pee the radioactivity out that day. A dye MRI and post surgery is radiation usually. You just have to get over it to give you the best control.

      Drink lots of water. Open the liver with citrus and coffee on an empty stomach
      Read about Tumeric and take a great probiotic.

      I get what your saying but this blue dye is part of helping limit your surgery. It's information they can use to see the path of your lymph system.

      I also have to take a mugga test to check heart. That has a radioactive tracer in it too.

      Look at how you can clean your blood

      Best with this. Trust is a big lesson here. Hope you like your team.

      Comment
  • Isabelle McCoy Profile

    I have been diagnosed with Estorgen Receptor positive breast cancer...had lumpectomy

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    almost 8 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Isabelle, Like Marianne, I am also sorry you joined our club. Where are you in your treatment other than having a lumpectomy? I read your bio and it said you had a large tumor, so have had surgery and have found it is estrogen +. I was also ER+ PR+ Her2-
      My internist said to me at one...

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      Isabelle, Like Marianne, I am also sorry you joined our club. Where are you in your treatment other than having a lumpectomy? I read your bio and it said you had a large tumor, so have had surgery and have found it is estrogen +. I was also ER+ PR+ Her2-
      My internist said to me at one point...."At least you have the good kind of breast cancer."
      Meaning it is hormone sensitive. I also see in your bio, you are living the life you are supposed to yet you still got breast cancer. One thing about this disease, it seems to not play favorites and can strike anyone. I never smoked, or drank alcohol, have no family members with breast cancer, live on a farm and work hard every day.... breast cancer at 59. You have a lot of sisters here... lots of women going through treatment, a few fossils like me, 5 years post treatment and cancer free. Please keep in touch with us. We are here to help anyone going through treatment. So sorry you joined the party.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Pat Lawrence Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2005

      Hi Isabelle I also had ER breast cancer. Had lumpectomy radiotherapy tamoxifen for 3 years and aromasin for 2 years. Have now been clear for 7 years altogether. Found it really helpful talking to others that had been and are going through it. Only they can understand !!! Hope all goes well with...

      more

      Hi Isabelle I also had ER breast cancer. Had lumpectomy radiotherapy tamoxifen for 3 years and aromasin for 2 years. Have now been clear for 7 years altogether. Found it really helpful talking to others that had been and are going through it. Only they can understand !!! Hope all goes well with you.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    My mother had bilateral mastectomy last week and has had fevers ever since. Her white blood cell count is at 47? Is that bad? Going in for her 3rd surgery today.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I am sorry but do not know what is normal for blood counts but if she is running a fever, that does not sound good to me. This is something she needs to talk to her surgeon about asap. It also sounds like she may need to be on some kind of antibiotic.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Evelyn Heilbrunn Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      A normal white blood cell count is around 10,000. I assume your mom's is 47,000. With a high white cell count and a fever it sounds like your mom has an infection going on. (I was a nurse in a former life.) She needs to reach out to her doctors ASAP.
      If she can't reach them, and depending...

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      A normal white blood cell count is around 10,000. I assume your mom's is 47,000. With a high white cell count and a fever it sounds like your mom has an infection going on. (I was a nurse in a former life.) She needs to reach out to her doctors ASAP.
      If she can't reach them, and depending on how bad she feels, you might want to consider going to the ER at a hospital with which her doctor is affiliated. Be sure she wears a mask (you can get one at a drug store). She probably needs to have blood work and other tests to figure out what's going on.
      Keep us posted, and please continue to ask any questions you might have.

      2 comments

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