Sadly, one in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her life. A breast cancer diagnosis can be extremely traumatic, not just for the patient herself but for her entire family and anyone close to her. Because breast cancer is both so stressful and so common, it’s important that everyone educates themselves about this horrible disease.
Unfortunately, when a breast cancer diagnosis coincides with a pregnancy, it’s natural to feel afraid. After all, when a woman with cancer is also carrying a child, she’s suddenly healing for two. The best way to understand the relationship between breast cancer and pregnancy is to speak with your physician. However, to help you understand some of the basic facts, here are some of the frequently asked questions we hear at our birthing center about breast cancer and pregnancy.
Are pregnant women at risk of breast cancer?
The short answer is yes, sadly. In fact, breast cancer is the number one most common cancer diagnosis among pregnant women, which is why it’s so important to visit a trusted and high quality maternity clinic. These birthing centers and women’s clinics are helpful because they can provide all the pregnancy assistance that good maternity clinics should provide, but also advanced medical attention in the event of a major diagnosis before, during, or after pregnancy. While this disease does occur in some pregnant women, remember that only one in every 1,000 pregnant women is diagnosed with breast cancer.
Will a breast cancer diagnosis harm my baby?
There is no evidence that breast cancer can harm a baby during pregnancy. However, certain breast cancer treatments can cause further complications, so medical professionals will have to make a careful decision about what the next step should be. If the cancer is in the early stages (stage 1 or 2), the doctor will most likely recommend surgery to remove the lump or the affected breast. If you have concerns about how your recommended cancer treatment could affect your unborn child, do not hesitate to ask your doctor as many questions as you need to.
Is it still possible to breastfeed after a breast cancer diagnosis?
Yes, and a woman who has breast cancer can still breastfeed without harming the baby at all. Additionally, there is no evidence that stopping breast milk flow will improve a person’s chance of surviving breast cancer. Keep in mind that breastfeeding after major surgery can cause problems within the milk ducts.
Dealing with these issues can be extremely stressful, but as long as you’re doing some research, staying positive, and consulting with medical professionals, you will be on the right track. Do not hesitate to ask friends and family for support during this difficult time, and contact the American Cancer Society or the National Breast Center Foundation if you need more resources or support.
If you are searching for a quality maternity clinic, emergency room, or cancer center, contact Carolina East Medical.