Breast disease complicating pregnancy

J. I. Sorosky, C. E.H. Scott-Conner

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42 Scopus citations


Cancer complicating pregnancy is uncommon, with an incidence of approximately 1 in 1000 pregnancies. The obstetrician attending 250 deliveries per year would need to accumulate 40 years of clinical experience to encounter two to three cases of PABC. The increases in the size, weight, vascularity, and density of the breasts associated with pregnancy make the detection of mass lesions difficult both clinically and mammographically. Most of the benign lesions seen in pregnancy are the same ones seen in the nongravid state. Most cases of PABC present as painless masses, and as many as 90% of these masses are detected by breast self-examination. Women with PABC generally have more advanced disease with larger tumors, a higher percentage of inoperable lesions, and a higher percentage of nodal involvement. Because most PABC presents with a palpable mass, the role of imaging modalities in the evaluation of these patients remains limited. Fine- needle aspiration cytology is the initial procedure of choice for evaluating breast masses during pregnancy and lactation. Therapeutic abortion does not improve survival. The general principle is to treat the cancer and to allow the pregnancy to proceed. No studies have shown an adverse effect of a subsequent pregnancy even in patients with positive axillary nodes and patients in whom pregnancy occurs earlier than 2 years after treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-363
Number of pages11
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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