Breast Cancer

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After Treatment TOPICS

Pregnancy after breast cancer

Because many breast cancers are sensitive to estrogen, there has been concern that if a woman has been treated for breast cancer, high hormone levels during pregnancy might increase the chance of recurrence. Studies have shown, however, that pregnancy doesn’t increase the risk of recurrence after successful treatment of breast cancer. Still, many doctors advise breast cancer survivors not to become pregnant for at least 2 years after treatment. This would allow any early return of the cancer to be diagnosed, which in turn could affect a woman's decision to become pregnant. But this 2-year wait period is not based on strong scientific evidence, and earlier pregnancy may not be harmful. Still, chemotherapy and hormone therapy drugs can affect the fetus, so it isn’t safe to get pregnant until all treatment is complete.

Women are advised to discuss their risk of recurrence with their doctors. In some cases, counseling can help women with the complex issues and uncertainties about motherhood and breast cancer survivorship.


Last Medical Review: 09/11/2013
Last Revised: 01/31/2014