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About the Breast Cancer during Pregnancy Program

  • Rebecca Byrne and daughter Emelia

    Rebecca Byrne with daughter Emelia


  • A cancer diagnosis is a life-altering experience for most individuals; however, young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant can feel especially overwhelmed. At Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women Cancer Center's Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers Breast Oncology Program, our team of experts provides compassionate and comprehensive care during an especially challenging time.

    Every year in the United States, one in 3,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy. Many obstetricians and oncologists have rarely encountered these dual challenges, but Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) has become a leader in achieving healthy outcomes for pregnant women and their babies.

    We look at each patient individually, working in collaboration with the high-risk pregnancy center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The team includes some of the world’s most experienced and respected breast cancer oncologists and maternal-fetal specialists in Obstetrics/Gynecology. As partners in your treatment, we will help you make informed decisions about your care as you navigate through your cancer journey.

    Depending on the type of breast cancer and stage of pregnancy when it is diagnosed, the DF/BWCC team will work with you to select effective treatment strategies that can be given safely, minimizing risks of harm to a developing infant.

    Rapid response and follow-up

    Pregnant women who suspect or have been told they have breast cancer are contacted by our nurses within 24 hours. If you have not been diagnosed yet, our specialists work quickly to evaluate your symptoms. If a breast cancer diagnosis has been confirmed, your team of clinicians will work together to create and oversee a personalized treatment plan.

    Expertise and innovation

    Experience affects outcomes. DF/BWCC physician-scientists are working to improve the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer during pregnancy. We are leading research efforts that are changing the understanding of the disease and creating new options for young women with breast cancer.

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