Treating Pregnancy-Related Breast Cancer

Sandra Swain, MD, discusses pregnancy-related breast cancer.

Sandra Swain, MD, medical director of the Washington Cancer Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, discusses pregnancy-related breast cancer.

Since more women are waiting until an older age to become pregnant, Swain says, there has been an increase in the number of patients who are pregnant and are diagnosed with breast cancer. Swain says there are about 4,000-5,000 patients with breast cancer in the U.S. each year who are pregnant.

A recent study compared patients who were pregnant to a control group of non-pregnant patients, Swain said. The study showed that outcomes were similar: Patients who were pregnant and received chemotherapy had similar outcomes to the control group.

Swain recommends that breast cancer patients who become pregnant should have a high-risk consultation with their OBGYN. Swain also recommends giving chemotherapy to patients after their first trimester.

Clinical Pearls

  • The number of patients with breast cancer who become pregnant is increasing because more women are waiting until they are older to get pregnant
  • A study showed pregnant patients and non-pregnant patients reacted similarly when treated with chemotherapy
  • Breast cancer patients who become pregnant should have a high-risk consultation with their OBGYN and should not receive chemotherapy until after the first trimester