Pregnancy-associated breast cancer


  • Conflict of interest
    The authors have stated explicitly that there are no conflicts of interest.

Kristjan Skuli Asgeirsson MS, FRCSEd (Gen Surg), Consultant Surgeon, Breast Surgery Collaborative Group, Department of General Surgery, Landspitali University Hospital, Hringbraut, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland. Email:


Currently, it is estimated that approximately one in every 3,000 births are from women who have or are being treated for breast cancer. Although rare, the incidence of pregnancy-associated breast cancer (PABC) is increasing as women are delaying childbirth. Diagnostic and treatment recommendations have been mainly based on evidence from retrospective single institutional and collective series and expert consensus, as randomized trials on this entity are understandably lacking. PABC is often associated with a poor outcome, but this is mainly due to delay in diagnosis and initiation of treatment. For the most part, women with PABC should be managed like non-pregnant breast cancer patients and should expect a similar outcome, without causing harm to the unborn child. Increased awareness and knowledge of how to assess symptomatic breast problems in pregnancy and a specialized multidisciplinary team approach for established PABC is likely to improve outcomes. This review analyses the evidence on the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of patients with PABC.