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Late Stage Breast Cancer (Stage III and IV)

    First-trimester radiation therapy should be avoided. Chemotherapy may be given after the first trimester as discussed in the section on Early Stage Breast Cancer. Because the mother may have a limited life span (most studies show a 5-year survival rate of 10% in pregnant patients with stage III and IV disease), and there is a risk of fetal damage with treatment during the first trimester,[1,2] issues regarding continuation of the pregnancy should be discussed with the patient and her family. Therapeutic abortion does not improve prognosis.[1,2,3,4,5]

    References:

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    1. Hoover HC Jr: Breast cancer during pregnancy and lactation. Surg Clin North Am 70 (5): 1151-63, 1990.
    2. Rugo HS: Management of breast cancer diagnosed during pregnancy. Curr Treat Options Oncol 4 (2): 165-73, 2003.
    3. Gwyn K, Theriault R: Breast cancer during pregnancy. Oncology (Huntingt) 15 (1): 39-46; discussion 46, 49-51, 2001.
    4. Clark RM, Chua T: Breast cancer and pregnancy: the ultimate challenge. Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol) 1 (1): 11-8, 1989.
    5. Barnavon Y, Wallack MK: Management of the pregnant patient with carcinoma of the breast. Surg Gynecol Obstet 171 (4): 347-52, 1990.

      WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

      Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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