Cancer treatments that may be used during pregnancy include: During the second and third trimesters, doctors can give several types of chemotherapy without apparent risk to the fetus.
Because the placenta acts as a barrier between the woman and the baby, some drugs cannot pass through. Studies suggest that babies exposed to chemotherapy while in the mother’s uterus do not show abnormalities immediately after delivery or during growth and development, as compared to children not exposed to chemotherapy.
Treatment recommendations are based on many factors, including: Treatment must be carefully planned to make sure the woman and unborn baby are safe.
Because breasts typically enlarge and change texture during pregnancy, changes from cancer may be difficult to detect. As a result, pregnant women with breast cancer may be diagnosed later than non-pregnant women. This is because some cancer symptoms, such as bloating, headaches, breast changes, or rectal bleeding, are also common during pregnancy.
On the other hand, pregnancy can sometimes uncover cancer.
Health care providers may suggest inducing labor early to protect the baby from cancer treatment.
But it is preferred to continue the pregnancy until natural labor and delivery occurs.
Chemotherapy can transfer to the infant through breast milk.
Similarly, radioactive drugs that are taken internally, such as radioactive iodine used to treat thyroid cancer, may also get into breast milk and harm the infant.This may lead to more risks associated with the cancer.Talk with your health care provider about how pregnancy may affect your cancer risk and recovery from therapy. For many years, health care providers and women were often unsure about how to deal with cancer during pregnancy.Now, more women with cancer are starting or continuing treatment during pregnancy.If cancer is suspected during pregnancy, women and their health care providers may be concerned about diagnostic tests.