Breast Cancer in Pregnancy: A Devastating Choice

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Imagine you're newly pregnant, aglow with all the possibility and excitement that come with it. Then imagine that you're given the frightening news that you're also suffering from breast cancer. What would you do? How would you handle it?

Dr Sibylle Loibl said that although it was uncommon for breast cancer patients to be pregnant -- between two and three percent -- as women delay having children until later, it may become more widespread.

Their treatment should follow that of a non-pregnant woman as "closely as possible," say researchers, although in collaboration with specialists including an obstetrician.

What a horrible choice. Do you get the treatment? Or do you wait, knowing that each day you wait is another day the cancer grows?

According to the doctors, you get the treatment and you get it fast.

But the risk of birth defects and premature birth is not insignificant, according to this study.

Premature babies were found to be more common among those who did not receive chemotherapy, and the children of those who did tended to weigh a little more. The children of both groups were found to be at higher risk of congenital problems than the usual population.

It's an impossible question to answer, as much as we would love to say we know what we would do. Any thinking person knows that it's impossible to tell unless you're actually faced with that situation.

I watched my mother die of this terrible disease when I was 16 and I can say, unequivocally, that I wouldn't want to delay my treatment for anything. Except, of course, my children. There is nothing I wouldn't do for them. I love and adore them, but not just in a Precious Moments, Kumbaya kind of way. There is also an enormous biological component. We care about our children more than ourselves because they are ourselves. They carry our genes into future generations long after we're gone.

It's an impossible choice. Certainly if I had children already who were young and needed me, I would get the treatment. After all, no one knows better than I the consequences of early mother loss. But if it were my first? I have to think I would do whatever ensured my baby with the best chance of survival.

As I said, the question is nearly impossible to answer from the outside, but knowing what you know, what do you think you would do?

 

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1st trimester, emotions, is it normal, is it safe

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jalaz77 jalaz77

I know what I would do. I would delay treatment to carry that child as long as possible...I wouldn't even think twice about it. I would not judge anyone who wouldn't do the same. If you would have asked me this at a younger age, when I didn't think I wanted children, I would have probably answered differently. I just watched someone die of ovarian cx and she said the best gift she gave her kids was each other...

Jessica Birch

Personally, I wouldn't go the route of conventional cancer treatment (chemotherapy, radiation) either way. I'd be on the first flight to either the Hippocrates Health Institute, Gerson Institute, or the Tree of Life Center, so I could cure my cancer and build a strong healthy body and baby at the same time. 

Proud... ProudSingleMum

I'd get treatment. It says there are risks on both sides.....so from what's listed....I'd go for treatment, and then hope that we both ended up healthy.

Madel... MadelynMc

They found a bladder tumor on my 20 week ultrasound when I was pregnant with my daughter. They couldn't biopsy it because of it's proximatey to the uterus so basically I had to choose between going under anesthesia and biopsying the tumor and risking going into (really really) preterm labor at 20 weeks or wait until after she was born. Luckily, since they were able to look at it with a scope and determine that it "most likely" wouldn't grow much and maybe not be cancerous, the choice for me wasn't that hard. I waited. But I don't know what I would have done if the doctors thought it was more serious. It's an awful feeling to think you have to choose between yourself and your baby.



Btw, the tumor had "low malignant potential" when they biopsied it, so all they had to do was cut it out. If I hadn't gotten (surprise) pregnant, who knows how long it would have been before it was found and if it would have spread or something. I like to think my daughter inadvertently may have saved my bladder (or my life), haha :)

starr... starrsitter

This is why it's important for women to retain their right to make their own reproductive choices.  If your choice is between your own life and the potential life of the child you're carrying, you should be allowed to choose your own...and if you want to wait it out, then good luck, but to force women to risk their lives when it's possible to save them is reprehensible (I'm lookin' at you, Catholic Church).

Mom2j... Mom2jngnc

I don't envy anyone who has ever had to ever has to make that decision.


All you can do is what is right for you and your family.

maiah... maiahlynn

I would pray & delay treatment as long as possible.. 

Jojos... JojosMom18613

I AM Catholic and was slightly offended by Starrsitter's comment, not all of us are out to "...force women to risk their lives when it's possible to save them..." Please avoid making generalizing comments/ statements.


I have Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension and am being treated with acetazolamide. If I were to get pregnant now the odds of that baby having some sort of deformity (cosmetic or life-threatening) are high. That being said, I already have one child and would not sacrifice my health or force a child to live miserably just so I could have another child.


 

mmarchey mmarchey

Would it be less risky to remove the breast while pregnant rather exposing fetus to chemo or radiation? And doing the treatments after childbirth?

MamaK88 MamaK88

I would terminate the pregnancy, get proper treatment...and then maybe try again later. 


 

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