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Breastfeeding During Breast Cancer Treatment

21 August, 2020 Gehna Kapoor

Breast cancer is rare in lactating women and in women who are in pre-menopausal age. Only 3 percent of the breast cancer cases are of nursing women. At the same time, there are many precautions one should take if they suspect breast cancer or if they are going for cancer treatment during breastfeeding their baby. In light of the above, the current article aims to discuss the signs and symptoms of breast cancer during breastfeeding, other infections that may show similar symptoms to breast cancer, and the precautions nursing mothers should take while going through therapies like chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

In a lot of cases, a lump in the breast is not even the first sign of breast cancer. Therefore, it is very important to be aware of the right signs and symptoms so that breast cancer can be detected in the earliest stage possible. The earliest the stage, the more possibility of successful treatment.

The following are the initial symptoms of breast cancer:

1. Changes in the shape of the nipple or inward nipple

2. A breast pain that persists even after your period

3. A new lump that persists even after your period

4. A nipple discharge that is clear or red or brown or yellow

5. Redness, swelling, itchiness on the breast

6. Swelling or a lump in the armpit or near the collar bone

A lump is more likely to be cancerous if it has irregular edges.

In case of severe stages, the following symptoms can be visible:

1. Retraction of the nipple

2. A dimple on the surface of the breast

3. The lump starts getting bigger

4. Enlargement in only one breast

5.  Vaginal pain

Having one or more of the signs of brain cancer does not necessarily mean that you have breast cancer, therefore, a doctor should be consulted from proper diagnosis after the signs are self-diagnosed. The doctor will perform further tests to confirm the diagnosis. 

Lumps during breastfeeding can also be due to…

1.Engorgement: It is common for the breast to get full of milk. This can make them lumpy and uncomfortable. This is called engorgement. The lumps can also be due to engorgement and not breast cancer.

2. Clogged ducts: If the milk is not drained frequently, it can thicken and clog the ducts in the breast and cause a lump.

3. Mastitis: Due to the about two conditions, the breast can develop an infection called mastitis. If the breast is overly filled with milk, it can eventually leak into the surrounding tissue. The doctor may suggest a medicine to help with the infection. You can conveniently buy the medicine from 3MEDS, the best healthcare provider in Delhi.

4. Abscess: If mastitis is left untreated, it can give rise to other complications like an abscess.

5. Cysts: Cysts in the breast can also feel like lumps. They usually disappear once the lactation period is complete.

Breastfeeding during Cancer Treatment

1. Surgery: If you have gone through surgery in one of your breasts, you can keep nursing the baby from the other breast normally. You can even breastfeed the baby after the surgery once the surgical wounds have healed getting upon which part of the breast and the tumor and how big it was. Although, in case you had a double mastectomy, you will be unable to breastfeed your baby.

2. Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy after a lumpectomy will result in less or no milk production but one can still breastfeed from the untreated breast once the doctor gives the “go ahead”.

3. Chemotherapy: In case you are going through chemotherapy, you will have to immediately stop breastfeeding. The body is treated with some really strong medicines to kill the cancer cells. This medicine can be passed on to the baby while breastfeed and prove to be detrimental.

Bottom line

While breast cancer is common in women, earlier diagnosis can be very helpful in recovering from it. Developing cancer while breastfeeding is rare but if you already have cancer and are going through cancer treatment, then it is best to talk to your doctor about the help of your baby and the risks the treatment can pose. The cancer treatment should be the priority and the treatment and medicines suggested by the doctor should not be neglected. You can easily get the medicines from 3MEDS, the best anti-cancer medicine provider in Delhi.