FAQs About Cancer And Pregnancy

The discovery of cancer can be a frightening experience. However, that fear is compounded when it is discovered during pregnancy. Once the diagnosis is made, treatment is important, but concerns about the unborn child's health must also be considered. If you are pregnant and have been diagnosed with cancer, here is what you need to know:

What Treatment Is Possible?

After the diagnosis, your OB/GYN and oncologist will work together to develop a treatment plan. The treatment recommended depends on several factors, including the trimester of your pregnancy, the location of the tumor, and whether or not cancer has spread. Your overall health and your personal beliefs about the treatment are also taken into consideration.

For breast cancer, surgery is considered to be one of the safest options. Surgery does not necessarily mean a total mastectomy, in which your entire breast would be removed. Depending on the size of the tumor, your oncologist might opt for a lumpectomy instead. The lumpectomy would call for the removal of the tumor and the tissue surrounding it, but not the entire breast.

Chemotherapy is typically not given until later in the pregnancy. In the first trimester, it can have an impact on the growth and development of the fetus. The first trimester is also the period in which most of your baby's organs are developing.

Hormone therapy and radiotherapy are usually not recommended during the pregnancy. It can impact the baby's growth throughout the trimesters. There is a risk of miscarriage and a higher chance of cancer development for the baby.

Is Breastfeeding Possible?

Breastfeeding is highly beneficial to newborns in normal circumstances, but unfortunately, it might not be for the best when a woman is undergoing cancer treatment. Depending on the treatment you have, breastfeeding could have an impact on your child's growth. For instance, chemotherapy could potentially transfer to your baby during breastfeeding.

Although breast cancer surgery might not have a direct impact on your child, it could have an impact on your recovery. Breastfeeding can sometimes increase the risk of an infection and could cloud the results from future tests. The breast milk could inadvertently be collected while your oncologist is obtaining a sample.

Your OB/GYN and an oncologist can help determine whether breastfeeding is safe for you and your baby in your case. If it is, your doctors might recommend certain precautions to protect you and your baby. For instance, your doctor might recommend pumping the milk instead of breastfeeding the baby directly to lower the risk of infection.

Check out a website like http://swoncology.net/ for more information and assistance.