It is rare that pregnant women have lung cancer, but there may be a chance of having lung cancer during pregnancy. It occurs only in 1 out of 1000 pregnant women. It is hard to get treated women for lung cancer during her pregnancy and from many years, pregnant women and their doctor are unsecure about the lung cancer treatment during pregnancy. But now many doctors start lung cancer treatment during women’s pregnancy. This is only done because of more information about treating and living with lung cancer during pregnancy is available.
Symptoms Of Lung Cancer During Pregnancy: some common feeling during pregnancy are may also be a symptom of lung cancer during pregnancy, these are as follow:
- Shortness of Breath: is common in pregnancy but it’s also a symptom of lung cancer.
- Persistent Cough: is a common symptom of lung cancer.
- Pneumonia: is a common symptom of lung cancer, but there are many people who has pneumonia with lung cancer.
- Fatigue: is common in pregnancy, but it also a symptom of lung cancer.
Diagnosing of Lung Cancer During Pregnancy:
Sometime some pregnancy test can detect lung cancer without taking attention towards symptoms, as the lung cancer symptoms are common during pregnancy like fatigue, shortness of breath. During pregnancy if cancer is suspected, doctor suggest diagnostic test to a pregnant woman. Specific lung cancer test for pregnant woman are:
- X-ray: X-rays are suggesting to pregnant woman to diagnose lung cancer, in research it also shown that radiation during x-ray is too low to harm the fetus. But lead shield is used to extra protect stomach from x-rays.
- CT Scan: Computed tomography scans are similar to x-ray but they provide detail about tumor. During pregnancy CT scan of chest to diagnose lung cancer is safe because fetus does not come in direct expose of radiation. In this test woman also can use lead shield to protect their stomach from radiation.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): is consider safe during pregnancy because don’t use ionizing radiation. So, MRI also suggest to pregnant women.
- Biopsy: like MRI Biopsy also safe for pregnant women and suggested by doctors to diagnose lung cancer; as it also don’t use ionizing radiation.
Treatment of Lung Cancer During Pregnancy:
This is very important when treatment is started for pregnant woman is best treatment of lung cancer which balanced the possible risks to the fetus.
Lung cancer treatment is recommended based on following factors during pregnancy:
- Age of pregnancy;
- The location of cancer;
- The type of cancer;
- The stage of cancer;
- And the most one the wishes of pregnant woman and her family.
Not all lung cancer treatments are for pregnant woman, only few of them are; these are:
Surgery: Surgery poses the least risk to fetus and considers safest treatment for lung cancer.
Chemotherapy: In chemo a drug is given to patient veins and it travels towards the tumor through blood and destroy the cancer cells. Chemotherapy during first trimester of pregnancy has risk to harm the fetus and maybe a chance of miscarriage.
Some chemotherapy’s are done during second and third trimester of pregnancy without causing the risk of fetus. This protection is given to placenta – which develop during pregnancy and give blood to mother and fetus. Placenta acts as a barrier between mother and fetus that many chemo drugs can’t pass-through. The side effect of chemo during second and third trimester is early labour and low birth weight.
Infection, anemia or nausea and vomiting are the side effect of chemo in women and they may indirectly harm fetus.
Radiation Therapy: Doctors generally avoid radiation therapy during pregnancy as the x-rays use for this therapy has high-energy and can seriously harm fetus.
So during your pregnancy if doctor suggest any lung cancer treatment don’t scare from it, as there are safe treatment for lung cancer during pregnancy; these tests and treatments don’t harm your fetus. Don’t worry!!!