Can a woman breastfeed if she has breast cancer?

August 7, 2021 Dr. Shilpy Dolas No comments exist

Breastfeeding is very beneficial for the health of both infant and mother. But what if a mother is diagnosed with breast cancer? 

Women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are currently breastfeeding have concerns about whether their cancer treatment could affect the baby.

Read full article to know about the relationship between breast cancer and breastfeeding.

Can a woman diagnosed with breast cancer do breastfeeding? 

If a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer while breastfeeding, most physicians will recommend to stop breastfeeding.

Because many therapies are used during breast cancer treatment, including chemotherapies, hormone therapies and anaesthesia administered during surgery, which can affect a woman’s milk supply or negatively impact the baby. Also, stopping breastfeeding will decrease blood flow to the breasts, making them smaller, easier to examine and less likely to become infected.

How does breast cancer treatment affect breastfeeding?

  • Surgery: In surgery, it may be necessary to remove a lump or cancerous growth. In some cases, mastectomy (removal of the breast) or a double mastectomy (removal of both breasts) may be required based on the extent of cancer. The extent of the surgery will determine whether or not the individual can continue breastfeeding.
  • Chemotherapy: Women who are undergoing chemotherapy will need to stop breastfeeding, as it uses strong medications to destroy cancer cells within the body.
  • Radiation: Some women undergoing radiation therapy may be able to continue breastfeeding, depending on the specific type of therapy. 

Breastfeeding is a challenging process for many mothers, and breast cancer can make it more complicated. Breast-feeding during cancer treatment may be possible with proper consultation of a breast cancer specialist

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