Woman Receives Breast Cancer Treatment During PregnancyThe Breast Cancer Site
Developing breast cancer during pregnancy is rare. However, according to the American Cancer Society, the risk is increasing since more women are having children later in life.
"Current estimates range anywhere from 1 in every 1,000 to 1 in every 10,000 pregnant women diagnosed with breast cancer every year," according to the source.
Heather Scriven was one of those few women who developed cancer while pregnant. The Press-Enterprise reported that she found a lump while five weeks pregnant during a self-exam.
Dr. Frank Howard, an oncologist at the Loma Linda University Center, says some chemotherapy drugs can be administered during pregnancy without showing a risk of birth defects. He went on to state that timing was important and treatment isn't administered during the first trimester, as the organs are still developing.
According to The Press-Enterprise, Scriven had a left breast mastectomy while three months pregnant and six weeks later she began chemotherapy treatment. After giving birth to her son Chase, Scriven underwent additional chemotherapy and preventive and reconstructive surgery. Even though she experiences pain and fatigue, she is able to play and care for her son who is now 21 months old.