- In This Feature
- What to Know about Yourself
- What to Know if You're on the Pill
- What to Know if You're Breastfeeding
- What to Know if You're Diagnosed with Breast Cancer While You're Pregnant
- What to Know if You’re a Breast Cancer Survivor
What to Know if You’re a Breast Cancer Survivor
Being diagnosed with breast cancer at any age is devastating. Being diagnosed before you've had a chance to have a baby can seem downright cruel.
But once you've successfully overcome breast cancer, you may still be able to fulfill your dreams of motherhood. There is no evidence showing that pregnancy after breast cancer lowers survival rates, nor is there any that you should not get pregnant after successfully fighting the disease. In fact, the few studies that have been conducted have found nothing to suggest that pregnancy will increase the risk of recurrence of breast cancer.
However, most doctors suggest that a survivor wait two to three years after treatment to become pregnant, because the highest risk of recurrence is within the first three years.
"I often suggest that patients wait five years to get pregnant so they can get the best treatment, which may include hormone therapy that can be harmful to a fetus," explains Dr. Partridge. "Ultimately, though, it's a personal decision that a woman needs to make with her doctor and her partner, based on her preferences, her values, and her age."
A bigger risk, warns Dr. Partridge, is that your fertility may be compromised as a side effect of chemotherapy.
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer or you are a breast cancer survivor and you want to become pregnant, speak with your doctor about your future fertility, the risk of recurrence, and the complexities surrounding motherhood as a breast cancer survivor.
Like any relationship, the more you know about each other, the stronger the bond. Likewise, you can't worry too much about every little bump along the way. The same is true with you and your breasts. Dr. Partridge offers this relationship advice: "Don't drive yourself crazy. Just remain aware of your breasts, especially with all the changes going on. And, most of all, new mothers should focus on enjoying their babies."
There are a lot of good resources you can use to learn more about breast cancer—many are listed below. And the more you know, the better your chances for prevention or early detection and treatment.