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Pregnancy After Treatment

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As a general recommendation, many doctors advise premenopausal women with early-stage breast cancer to wait about 2 years after diagnosis and treatment to get pregnant. This recommendation was made because early-stage breast cancer that is going to come back usually does so in the first 2 years after diagnosis and treatment. Premenopausal women diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer usually have treatment that lasts longer than 2 years after diagnosis. Because treatment may be ongoing, decisions about pregnancy are more complex for women with advanced-stage breast cancer.

But one study done in 2006 found that women with early-stage breast cancer may not need to wait 2 years before getting pregnant. Waiting 6 months didn't cause a significant increase in cancer or pregnancy risks. This study also confirmed that women diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer face more complex decisions about pregnancy timing. Pregnancy timing is also more complex for women who need ongoing treatment.

Perhaps the most important thing to know is that nothing is written in stone. If you want to get pregnant and your diagnosis and treatment are favorable, waiting more than 6 months may not be necessary. Work with your doctor to identify and understand the specifics of your own "big picture." Then, think about your personal wishes and concerns together with the best interests of the child you're hoping for. If you're in a relationship, then your partner's concerns will also weigh into the decisions you make. Together you can work out your priorities and develop a plan.

Breastfeeding: If you have a baby after breast cancer treatment, you may be wondering if it's safe to breastfeed your baby. You can, as long as you're not receiving chemotherapy or hormonal therapy.

If one breast was treated with lumpectomy followed by radiation, it probably won't produce much milk. But don't worry, your breast that didn't receive radiation can usually make enough milk to feed your baby.

Whether you breastfeed or not, cuddling and loving your child during feeding time will provide both of you with intimate contact and comfort.

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