For pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, finding a lump or experiencing other symptoms of breast cancer comes with extra anxiety.

Is it safe to do a screening mammogram when you’re expecting or lactating? What if you need a breast biopsy? Will the procedure interrupt breastfeeding or negatively impact your breast milk?

August is National Breastfeeding Month, and on this episode of The Breast of Everything, Dr. Eric Brown sits down to discuss the diagnostic workup and evaluation of women with breast symptoms during lactation.

He walks us through the American College of Radiology guidelines for breast imaging of pregnant and lactating women, explaining how little radiation exposure is involved in each technique and why there’s no need to ‘pump and dump’ after any breast radiology study.

Listen in to understand why women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should feel safe with any of the three breast biopsy techniques and find out what to do if you experience symptoms of cancer during lactation.

Key Takeaways

What to do if you find a breast lump or have symptoms of cancer during lactation

How breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer

The ACR guidelines for breast imaging of pregnant and lactating women

What’s involved in 3D Tomosynthesis and why it’s better than a traditional mammogram for lactating women

How much radiation exposure is involved in traditional mammograms, 3D Tomosynthesis and breast ultrasounds

Who should use a breast MRI to screen for cancer (and who shouldn’t)

The rare complication of biopsy in a lactating breast known as milk fistula

Why Dr. Brown recommends a core needle biopsy to obtain tissue for diagnosing breast cancer

How anesthesia impacts breast milk

Why pregnant or lactating women should feel safe with all 3 biopsy techniques

Connect with Dr. Brown

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National Breastfeeding Month

American College of Radiology Guidelines for Breast Imaging of Pregnant and Lactating Women

Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine

La Leche League International

United States Lactation Consultant Association