Pregnancy-Associated Breast Cancer

Kathleen Logue, RNC-OB, BSN


Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2009;13(1):25-27. 

In This Article

Case Study

R.M., a 38-year-old woman, gravida 4, para 2, was 28 weeks pregnant. She was a busy mother of two active boys, aged 7 and 4, and was thrilled to learn she was expecting a baby girl. Her pregnancy had progressed normally, with common complaints of fatigue and heartburn. Her prior pregnancies also were without complications except for cesarean deliveries because of a breech presentation in her first pregnancy.

R.M. had a history of a benign breast cyst, so she was not overly concerned when she felt a quarter-sized painless lump in her right breast. She waited two weeks until her next scheduled office visit to mention the lump to her obstetrician. Her doctor performed a thorough breast examination and reassured her that the lump probably was a blocked milk duct. He suggested that she have an ultrasound to be sure. The ultrasound was inconclusive, so her doctor insisted on a fine needle biopsy to rule out any possibility of cancer.

Several days later, R.M. received devastating news: She had stage II invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast. After meeting with an oncologist, surgeon, and maternal fetal medicine doctors, she was scheduled for a modified radical mastectomy at 30 weeks. Her first round of chemotherapy would be at 32 weeks and second infusion at 35 weeks; her next treatment would be held to avoid complications of anemia or neutropenia in the infant. R.M. would then be scheduled for a repeat cesarean section at 37.5 weeks.


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