Being Diagnosed During Pregnancy

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When you're pregnant, finding out that you also have breast cancer can be overwhelming. At the same time that you're hoping to bring a new life into the world, you enter into a fight to protect your own life. You may be concerned that the treatment you need could harm your baby. Or you may worry that treatment won't be as effective if you're pregnant.

Pregnancy causes your breasts to swell and become tender as milk ducts grow and stretch to prepare for breastfeeding. Because of the swelling, it may be more difficult to detect small lumps. For this reason, women diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy tend to have more advanced cancers at diagnosis than other women with breast cancer. Still, most studies show that pregnant women respond to treatment as well as other women of the same age and with the same stage and type of breast cancer. It's important for you to do everything you can to treat the breast cancer so you can mother your baby for many years to come.

According to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer occurs about once in every 3,000 pregnancies. It's good to know that most breast lumps found during pregnancy aren't cancer. But you should still tell your doctor about any lump you find. DON'T WAIT until after you deliver your baby to have your doctor check the lump.

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