About breast cancer: breast cancer during pregnancy

What is breast cancer: breast cancer during pregnancy?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in pregnant women and tends to affect women in their mid-30s. Although only about 1 in every 1,000 pregnant women get breast cancer, the disease can be devastating to both the mother and her child -- so it is essential that pregnant women and their doctors continue to do routine breast exams and thoroughly investigate any suspicious lumps.

A major problem is that a lot of changes take place in a woman's breasts during pregnancy. This makes it harder to identify suspicious lumps. In addition, breast cancer tumors in pregnant women are often larger and more advanced by the time they are detected than lumps in women of the same age who are not pregnant.

What are the symptoms for breast cancer: breast cancer during pregnancy?

Dimpling of the skin (sometimes looking like an orange peel) symptom was found in the breast cancer: breast cancer during pregnancy condition

It can be more difficult for people to notice signs and symptoms of breast cancer during pregnancy. This is because the breasts normally swell and become tender as milk ducts grow and stretch during pregnancy. Changes in hormone levels during pregnancy cause the breasts to change.

  • Pregnant women should not take small lumps lightly and conclude they are pregnancy-related. They could be the beginnings of cancer. If ignored, there are chances that the cancer spreading to lymph nodes.
  • Any suspicious breast changes should not be ignored.
  • A lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Swelling or thickening of part of the breast.
  • Irritation in breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.

What are the causes for breast cancer: breast cancer during pregnancy?

The causes of breast cancer during pregnancy can be due to:

  • Rapid growing cells: It is a known fact that breast cancer occurs when some breast cells grow abnormally. These cells form a lump or mass by dividing or multiplying more rapidly than healthy cells do. Cells may also spread (metastasize) through your breast to your lymph nodes or to other parts of your body.
  • Genetic mutation: Breast cancer develops as a result of genetic mutations or damage to DNA. These can be associated with trusted Source exposure to estrogen, inherited genetic defects, or genes that can cause cancer, such as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Experts say that about 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are linked to gene mutations passed through generations of a family.
  • Family History: In case you have a family background of breast or ovarian cancer, you may be advised to have your blood tested for these mutations.

What are the treatments for breast cancer: breast cancer during pregnancy?

Breastfeeding while you have breast cancer will not harm your baby. Moreover, there is no evidence that stopping your flow of breast milk will improve your cancer.

However, if you are undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, you should not breastfeed because these powerful chemotherapy drugs can travel through your breast milk to the baby.

What are the risk factors for breast cancer: breast cancer during pregnancy?

There's no evidence that the cancer harms the baby. But the treatments have risks.

Surgery, in general, is safe during any trimester of pregnancy. If the cancer is still in its early stages, your doctor will most likely recommend removing either the suspicious lump (lumpectomy) or the entire breast (mastectomy). If you're in the first or second trimester, a mastectomy is the preferred surgery. Lumpectomy is usually an option for women diagnosed in the third trimester. Radiation therapy usually doesn’t start until after pregnancy because it can harm the baby.

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