Pregnancy and Breast Cancer

This is a not-uncommon problem, as breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy in women who are pregnant. The general guidelines are the radiation and hormonal therapies should be avoided until the foetus is delivered.

  • Surgery and anaesthesia are safe for the foetus
  • FAC chemotherapy has been proven safe if given in the second and third trimesters (ie. after 14 weeks)
  • Radiotherapy will result in doses of over 0.15 Gy to the foetus, where deterministic effects are possible (eg. reduction in head circumference, mental retardation) as well as stochastic effects (childhood malignancy)
  • Endocrine therapy interferes with the normal hormonal effects in pregnancy and should be avoided.

Delivery can occur after 32-34 weeks relatively safely and with similar morbidity to delivery at full term.