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Breast neoplasms, pregnancy,
Background: Gestational or pregnancy-associated breast cancer is defined as breast cancer diagnosed during pregnancy, within the first postpartum year, or during lactation. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in nonpregnant and pregnant women.
Case presentation: A 29-year-old pregnant woman presented at eight weeks gestational age with a palpable breast nodule. On breast ultrasound evaluation, only probably benign findings were detected. The pregnancy was uneventful until the third trimester when she started to have a severe back pain which became gradually resistant to medical therapy. Therefore, at 33 weeks, she was assisted at an emergency care facility and a highly suspicious breast mass was detected. A core biopsy was performed that revealed an invasive ductal carcinoma grade 3 with lymph node metastasis.
After several imaging studies, it was diagnosed as a stage 4 breast cancer with bone, liver, and pulmonary metastasis. At thirty four weeks gestation, the pregnancy was terminated by C-section and she started to receive palliative radiation therapy one week later. She also received several cycles of palliative chemotherapy. Nineteenth months after C-section, progression of the disease was observed and a cerebellar metastasis was found. Unfortunately, two months later, her clinical condition deteriorated and the patient died.
Conclusion: Gestational breast cancer represents a clinical situation of utmost important in which the health of both the mother and the fetus should be taken into account. Diagnosis is difficult due to the physiological changes of the mammary glands during pregnancy and lactation, and it usually occurs at an advanced stage.