Medline: 2218844

Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics 171(4): 347-352, 1990.

Management of the pregnant patient with carcinoma of the breast.

Barnavon Y, Wallack MK


The diagnosis of carcinoma of the breast during pregnancy poses a challenging dilemma. Although once regarded as incurable, recent reports reveal similar long term survival rates for pregnant and nonpregnant patients who have carcinoma of the breast. When referred to a surgeon, a pregnant woman with a suspicious mammary mass deserves an expedient histologic diagnosis; delay may jeopardize the chances of survival. Once the diagnosis is established, pregnant patients should be treated in a manner similar to nonpregnant patients because there is no evidence that carcinoma of the breast in pregnant women is biologically different than carcinoma of the breast in other premenopausal women. Fears of fetal exposure to radiation should not deter a physician from ordering appropriate preoperative diagnostic tests to stage the patients. Operation may be performed safely when general anesthesia is administered and postoperative adjuvant therapy should be administered when necessary. The involvement of multiple subspecialties in the management of these patients is highly recommended. (52 Refs)

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