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Are you a Breast Cancer Survivor? You Can Still Have a Baby!

By Dr. Charu Garg in Breast Cancer , Cancer Care / Oncology , Radiation Oncology

Sep 20 , 2017 | 3 min read

Getting pregnant and having a baby is one of the happiest moments in a woman’s life. However, certain health conditions like breast cancer may raise a concern about this joy of motherhood, especially, when she is undergoing the treatment for it like surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, biological therapy or hormone therapy. The drugs used in these therapies may cause harm to the developing baby and sometimes even lead to infertility. However, many women can normally conceive after getting treated for breast cancer. We at Max Healthcare, recommend you to inform your consulting doctor about your plan related to pregnancy. Do clear your doubts about pregnancy well in advance before the treatment starts.

So, if you are a breast cancer survivor and you and your partner are having difficulty in taking a decision, here we have answered a few questions that will clear your doubts about pregnancy after cancer. Take a look!

How long should one wait for pregnancy after the treatment?

Surviving breast cancer is a great achievement and living a normal life is still greater. Many women want to have children after a successful breast cancer treatment. However, they are concerned about the repercussions. We at Max Healthcare, advise that you should wait at least for two years after the end of your treatment. Though there is still no clarity on the length of wait time, two years is enough to find any early return. However, you should keep in mind that every case is different and the 2-year mark may not prove beneficial for every breast cancer survivor. The decision depends on many factors including –

  • The type of cancer and stage
  • Age
  • Type of treatment

Remember, cancer treatment during pregnancy is complicated and should only be done under the care of trained professionals only.

Will you be able to breastfeed after the treatment?

If you have undergone radiation or had surgery, you may face problems in feeding with the affected breast, although babies can be fed on the other breast. Many studies have shown that a change in the breast shape can make the feeding process difficult. Also, with reduced milk production, it may become difficult for the baby to latch milk. However, as stated earlier, every case is different, and many women are easily able to breastfeed.

If you are on any hormonal therapy discuss it with your doctor before breastfeeding. Many drugs can easily enter the breast milk and may cause harm to the baby’s health.

Could breastfeeding make breast cancer come back?

For women who have had breast cancer, this is the biggest concern. Though many breast cancer types are sensitive to estrogen, the increase in hormonal levels during pregnancy may increase the chance of cancer coming back. However, many studies have shown that pregnancy, after successful treatment of breast cancer, does not increase the risk of it coming back. Having said that, many types of research also indicate that having a history of breastfeeding also lowers the risk of recurrence. 

Will there be any risk to your child’s health?

If you are still undergoing any treatment for breast cancer, including targeted, hormonal or chemotherapy, it is advisable that you wait for the treatment to get over.The drugs involved in the treatment can affect the health and growth of the fetus. So, plan your pregnancy after a discussion with your doctor. Also, keep in mind that stopping the treatment before time, to get pregnant can increase the chances of cancer coming back, hence calculate the risk of it along with your physician and then take a decision.

If you are a cancer survivor, keep these things in mind before planning a baby. For a thorough understanding, consult with best cancer specialist in Delhi to get a better knowledge on the subject.