Dr. Shelly Sharma
Oncoradiologist, Breast Radiologist
MBBS, DNB( Radiodiagnosis ). Observorship in Breast Imaging , Mayo Clinic, USA. Fellowship in Ultrasound guided Tumor ablation , Samsung Medical Centre, South Korea. Fellowship in onco radiology , National Cancer Centre, Singapore.
2 minute read
Pregnancy is a beautiful experience during which your entire body undergoes amazing changes, including your breasts. The breasts increase in size, develop fibroglandular tissues / milk ducts for breast feeding and become heavy with extra fluid. These feel firmer and bumpy to touch. Most of the time these changes are related to hormonal changes happening in your body. However, sometimes a lump could be due to breast cancer also.
Most of the breast lumps during pregnancy are benign or non-cancerous in nature. However sometimes these may be due to breast cancer also. Breast cancer lumps are generally painless.
In case you feel a painless breast lump get it evaluated by your doctor. The doctor may send you for further evaluation by imaging. The breasts may be evaluated by ultrasound , breast MRI or even mammography. Ultrasound is a radiation free and easily available tool, which can rule out other causes of a breast lump. If the radiologist still feels a suspicion of breast cancer, you might be suggested to undergo a mammography.
According to the American Cancer Society, it’s fairly safe to have a mammogram when you’re pregnant. Mammography utilises low dose X-Rays for imaging the breasts which are directed towards breast area, for added safety of the developing baby a lead apron may be placed on your tummy. You may also be suggested to undergo Breast MRI which is considered a safe technique. In case the level of suspicion for breast cancer is high the radiologist may perform a breast biopsy. The ultrasound guided breast biopsies are performed in out patient department under local anesthesia and are safe for the baby.
You or your family may be concerned about how an imaging technique might affect a developing baby and advise you to postpone seeking a consultation till you deliver the baby or have finished breast feeding the baby. You need to understand, that by waiting for the baby to deliver you might waste precious time and decrease your chances of cure by not seeking timely treatment and intervention in case the lump is due to breast cancer. Be aware ! Do not wait the baby to deliver or stop breast feeding to get the lump checked out.
This information is for general guidance and reflects the opinions and experience of the author. It is not intended to replace specialist consultation or provide treatment advice for specific cases.