Pregnancy-Associated Breast Cancer

Kathleen Logue, RNC-OB, BSN


Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2009;13(1):25-27. 

In This Article

Care of the Fetus

The pregnancy should be monitored to evaluate fetal tolerance of the treatment. Confirmation of gestational age and due date are significant factors for determining the plan of care. Abortion may be considered if the diagnosis is made in the first trimester (Hahn & Theriault, 2008). An ultrasound should be done before each cycle of chemotherapy to assess fetal growth (Loibl et al., 2006). If preterm delivery is necessary, amniocentesis can be performed to assess lung maturity. A vaginal delivery is preferred to avoid treatment delay after delivery. If chemotherapy is needed after delivery, breastfeeding is not recommended because most medications are excreted in milk (Loibl et al.).

The most frequently reported short-term effects in the fetus are anemia, alopecia, and neutropenia, which all are reversible; completing the last chemotherapy treatment three to four weeks before delivery can minimize those effects (Dean, 2007). Complete blood count results should be obtained and appropriate care given to avoid infection or bleeding complications, particularly if premature delivery occurs less than three weeks after the last chemotherapy treatment (Loibl et al.).


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