Keep an eye out for breast lumps, even during pregnancy

Keep an eye out for breast lumps, even during pregnancy

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Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, now's a good time to educate yourself about the signs of breast cancer and how to watch for possible problems, even when you're pregnant. Over time, pregnancy and breastfeeding can actually reduce your risk of getting breast cancer.

If breast cancer does develop during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, it can be especially hard to detect. Your breasts naturally change when you're pregnant, becoming bigger and full of fluid, and your breast tissue is likely to feel more lumpy in general.

Here's what you should do if you're pregnant or breastfeeding:

  • Give yourself breast exams: The American Cancer Society recommends women be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel. Self-exams may be useful in helping detect lumps, especially if you're at an increased risk for breast cancer. Check out for information about how to do a breast self-exam.
  • Don't panic if you find a lump: Chances are any lump you may find is not breast cancer. It may just be a benign cyst. But get it checked out anyway.
  • Report breast lumps to your doctor promptly: Even though it's unlikely a lump is cancerous, getting it checked out early could save your life. When breast cancer does develop, it tends to start as a painless lump. Your doctor can determine whether or not it's cancerous.
  • Breast cancer testing may be different while pregnant: Because some imaging tests may be risky for your baby, your doctor will likely take a cautious approach to testing. Ultrasounds are considered a safe, initial way to analyze breast lumps. If the lump does appear to be cancerous, you may need to have a mammogram – which will be performed using a special shield. Always let healthcare providers know you are pregnant before undergoing imaging tests.
  • You can get safe treatment for breast cancer while pregnant: In the rare event you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you can be safely treated for it during pregnancy. Your options will change depending on how far along you are, and some treatments may need to wait until after you give birth.

Learn more about breast changes during pregnancy. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, consider joining BabyCenter's Breast Cancer Support Group, which is open to women in all stages of breast cancer – from lumps to recovery.

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Watch the video: Pregnant Mother With Diabetes. Medical Documentary. Only Human (May 2022).

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