May 1st 2005
The relationship between pregnancy and breast cancer is complex,and a paucity of available data further complicates decision-makingfor many women diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy ordesiring to become pregnant after such a diagnosis. Treatment of breastcancer during pregnancy requires a multidisciplinary care team andcareful consideration of the risk of the disease and gestational age ofthe fetus, in conjunction with the patient’s preferences. Chemotherapyshould be deferred beyond the first trimester. There is no evidence thatpregnancy in a breast cancer survivor will decrease long-term survival;in fact, studies suggest a potential protective effect of pregnancy afterbreast cancer in terms of the risk of recurrence. However, the availablestudies are limited by substantial potential biases, and concerns remainfor some women and their doctors about the risks of pregnancy afterbreast cancer. This article reviews what is known about the associationbetween pregnancy and breast cancer, discusses treatment options forwomen diagnosed with the disease during pregnancy, and summarizesevidence regarding the safety of pregnancy after breast cancer.