If you have breast cancer while lactating, you may need surgery, chemotherapy
, or radiation
. Your doctor will help you decide which treatments are best for your particular condition.
Surgery and breastfeeding
You may be able to continue breastfeeding before and after having surgery to remove your tumor depending on the type of procedure. Talk to your doctor about whether it’s safe for you and your baby to continue breastfeeding. If you have a double mastectomy
, you won’t be able to breastfeed. Treating a breast with radiation after a lumpectomy
means it usually produces little or no milk. You may be able to breastfeed with the untreated breast, however. Ask your doctor what medications you’ll receive before and after surgery and if they’re safe for a baby who’s breastfed. You might need to pump your milk and discard it for a period of time before resuming breastfeeding.
Chemotherapy and breastfeeding
If you need chemotherapy, you’ll have to stop breastfeeding your baby. The powerful drugs used in chemotherapy can affect how cells divide in the body.
Radiation therapy and breastfeeding
You might be able to continue breastfeeding while receiving radiation therapy. It depends on the type of radiation you have. Some women can breastfeed with the unaffected breast only.
Treatment side effects
It’s important to remember that you could experience side effects from treatment. These might include:
- weight loss
You may want to request help with childcare so you have time to rest and recover.