Breast cancer can occur at any time, including during pregnancy. It's the most common form of cancer in pregnancy, affecting approximately one in 3,000 women.
Pregnancy itself does not cause breast cancer, and breast cancer does not spread to the developing fetus.
Due to changing hormones during pregnancy, breast cancer is often found at a later stage in pregnant women.
Although breast cancer treatment during pregnancy is possible, it's more complex due to the possible effects to the developing baby.
Any type of breast cancer can occur during pregnancy, including:
Pregnancy is associated with a specific set of risks for breast cancer, including:
Learn more about the High-Risk Breast Cancer Program at Magee.
Talk to your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:
Because excessive radiation exposure, maternal anesthesia, or other diagnostic or therapeutic approaches may harm a developing baby, you and your doctor will need to discuss risk factors and possible outcomes in detail.
Some procedures may not be appropriate during pregnancy.
Experts at the Magee-Womens Breast Cancer Program use a variety of tests and procedures to diagnose and screen for breast cancer, including:
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Mammogram with computer-aided detection (CAD)
3D mammogram (tomosynthesis)
Minimally invasive breast biopsy
If you're diagnosed with breast cancer associated with pregnancy, treatment will depend upon many variables:
Your doctors and other specialists at the Magee-Womens Breast Cancer Program will work with you to discuss risk factors, consider your options, and determine a course of action.
Surgery is often the primary treatment for breast cancer.
In many cases, we may also recommend additional therapies before (neo adjuvant) or after (adjuvant) surgery to control an aggressive cancer or to reduce the risk of recurrence. We do not recommend radiation therapy for pregnant women, due to the potential harm to the fetus.
Procedures and treatments for breast cancer may include:
Women's Cancer Program
Breast Cancer Program
Conditions We Treat
Support & Education
Research & Clinical Trials
Locations & Directions
As soon as you know you are pregnant, ask your doctor or nurse to teach you how to perform a breast exam on yourself. Each prenatal visit should also include a breast exam.
View screening recommendations for women without symptoms or a family history of breast cancer.