The treatment of pregnancy-associated breast cancer is determined by a number of factors including the stage of breast cancer, how advanced the pregnancy is as well as the individual medical history and personal preferences for treatment.
There is no evidence to suggest that termination of the pregnancy in the first or second trimester results in better outcomes for the patient.
If a diagnosis of PABC has been made close to the end of the pregnancy, it may be an option for the patient to proceed with delivery before treatment is commenced.
Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy should speak to their oncologist about the best treatment option for them.
Treatment options include:
Breast surgery can be performed at any time during pregnancy and is considered to pose little or no harm to the unborn baby.
Studies have shown that chemotherapy can be safely given during pregnancy, as long as it is after first trimester. However, it should be withheld in the last three weeks before delivery to allow both maternal and foetus’s blood counts to return to normal. Careful planning and discussion between the patient, oncologist and obstetrician will be needed to plan for the chemotherapy while maintaining safety of the pregnancy with attention to timing of delivery.
Radiation therapy should be avoided during pregnancy, but could be considered an option for treatment following delivery if the pregnancy is close to term.
|Trimester of pregnancy
||Possible treatment options
||Surgery, chemotherapy (stopped by 35 weeks)