Updated on 29 January 2022
Getting breast lumps during pregnancy is quite common and it happens due to the stimulation of hormones. If you get suspicious about a specific lump in your breast then you must seek medical help from an obstetrician. After clinical examination, your doctor will advise you to undergo an ultrasound scan. If required your doctor will further advise you to undergo mammography and biopsy. At any point in life, a woman can be diagnosed with cancer and she should be extra careful during pregnancy. Cancer can be eradicated from the body of a pregnant woman but protecting the unborn child from its side effects is tricky. Signs and symptoms of breast cancer are as follows:
Lump below the breast or an underarm
Changes in the shape of your breasts
Changes in the skin of the breasts- dimpling, and puckering
Any discharge from the breasts that comprises blood
Swollen, red, and scaly tissue present on the nipple, areola, or breasts
A lot of hormonal changes occur during pregnancy so it is difficult to detect cancer in the initial stages of pregnancy. The tissue in your breast becomes denser as your body prepares itself for the pregnancy. If a cancerous tissue becomes noticeable then a doctor will ask you to undergo a mammogram only if you have crossed the first trimester. The radiations of the mammogram can harm the developing fetus so the doctor always takes all the preventive methods before starting the procedure:
Sample tissues from the lump will be sent for a biopsy.
The patient will be anesthetized so that she does not feel any pain during the process.
The biopsy is conducted to determine whether the lump is cancerous or not.
Several other factors determining the stages of cancer are:
STAGE 0 or Non- invasive breast cancer - The cancerous cells have not broken to spread the tissues.
STAGE 1- The small collection of cancer cells appears in the lymph nodes. The tumor can be of 2 cm or there could be a collection of small cancer cells of 0.2mm to 2mm.
STAGE 2- The cancerous cells have affected three lymph nodes or the tumor has grown larger than 5cm.
STAGE 3- The cancerous cells can spread up to 9 lymph nodes or the swollen tumor will be larger than 5 cm. It can easily spread on the areas around your breasts.
STAGE 4- At this stage, cancerous cells have spread in the entire body affecting other organs of the body like bones, lungs, skin, and brain.
The doctor will recommend surgery only if the cancer is detected in the initial stages and if present in the breasts or the underarms.
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