Cancer in pregnancy: breast cancer

Abdom Radiol (NY). 2023 May;48(5):1645-1662. doi: 10.1007/s00261-023-03824-1. Epub 2023 Feb 8.


Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women, and for women under 40, it is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. A specific type of breast cancer is pregnancy-associated breast cancer, which is diagnosed during pregnancy, the first-year postpartum, or during lactation. Pregnancy-associated breast cancer is seen in 3/1000 pregnancies and is increasing in incidence as women delay pregnancy. This type of breast cancer is more aggressive, and not infrequently, there is a delay in diagnosis attributed to physiologic changes that occur during pregnancy and a lack of awareness among physicians. In this review, we discuss the demographics of pregnancy-associated breast cancer, provide differential considerations, and illustrate the multimodality imaging features to bring attention to the radiologist about this aggressive form of breast cancer.

Keywords: Breast MRI; Breast cancer; Mammography; Pregnancy; Pregnancy-associated breast cancer; Ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lactation
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic* / diagnostic imaging
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic* / etiology