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L.A. Parent: Breast Cancer During Pregnancy | What You Need to Know

L.A. Parent recently featured an article by Kjirsten Carlson, MD, a breast oncology surgeon with Cedars-Sinai Cancer, who offered guidance for women diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy or immediately after giving birth.

Carlson cited a recent study that found breast cancer cases have significantly increased in women under age 50. About 20% of those cases occur in women ages 25 to 29, during their reproductive years. Carlson wrote that awareness of these statistics is important because knowledge is power.

“If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and you feel a breast mass, promptly get it checked out!” Carlson wrote in L.A. Parent. “No matter the results, there are options.”

She explained that mammograms and breast ultrasounds are safe during pregnancy, while breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is safe only after women have given birth.

“Breast ultrasounds pose no risk to the fetus or the breastfeeding infant and are a very good initial study,” Carlson wrote in L.A. Parent. “Mammograms have been deemed safe in pregnancy because the pregnant belly can be shielded with a lead apron during the exam and the total dose of radiation exposure is significantly lower than the threshold deemed harmful to the baby.”

Carlson wrote that if cancer is diagnosed during pregnancy, there are treatment options that are safe in every trimester. She advised people who are thinking about having children to discuss any family history of breast cancer with their OB-GYN.

“If you’re due for your breast exam or breast imaging (like your screening mammogram), I’d advise getting it done before you start trying to conceive,” Carlson wrote.

Click here to read the complete article from L.A. Parent.