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Other Information About Pregnancy and Breast Cancer

Key Points

  • Lactation (breast milk production) and breast-feeding should be stopped if surgery or chemotherapy is planned.
  • Breast cancer does not appear to harm the unborn baby.
  • Pregnancy does not seem to affect the survival of women who have had breast cancer in the past.

Lactation (breast milk production) and breast-feeding should be stopped if surgery or chemotherapy is planned.

If surgery is planned, breast-feeding should be stopped to reduce blood flow in the breasts and make them smaller. Breast-feeding should also be stopped if chemotherapy is planned. Many anticancer drugs, especially cyclophosphamide and methotrexate, may occur in high levels in breast milk and may harm the nursing baby. Women receiving chemotherapy should not breast-feed. Stopping lactation does not improve the mother's prognosis.

Breast cancer does not appear to harm the unborn baby.

Breast cancer cells do not seem to pass from the mother to the unborn baby.

Pregnancy does not seem to affect the survival of women who have had breast cancer in the past.

For women who have had breast cancer, pregnancy does not seem to affect their survival. However, some doctors recommend that a woman wait 2 years after treatment for breast cancer before trying to have a baby, so that any early return of the cancer would be detected. This may affect a woman’s decision to become pregnant. The unborn baby does not seem to be affected if the mother has had breast cancer.


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