Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Postpartum Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Postpartum Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). At Fourth Wellness, we hope for people to grow in knowledge about the challenges of new mothers and that includes associated medical conditions that may occur after pregnancy and giving birth. One such condition we are highlighting in honour of BCAM is pregnancy associated breast cancer (PABC).

PABC can be classified under two subtypes, one which is diagnosed during a woman’s pregnancy and another that is diagnosed after delivery of a child (postpartum). PABCs generally have poorer prognosis than regular breast cancers because of late detection and limitations in treatment methods. For postpartum breast cancers, a recent study in Korea also found that the older women are at their first delivery, the higher their risk of being breast cancer as well. Likewise, there is also a higher risk associated with older age at their last delivery. A postpartum diagnosis can actually confer poorer prognosis too, given the higher risks of breast cancer metastasis i.e. the spreading from the breast to other organs.

Whether a mother is diagnosed during pregnancy or postpartum, the truth of the matter remains that their postpartum period can be even more trying and painful. Not only do they still have to learn to be a mother, they would also still need to manage this disease and undergo the necessary treatments to battle the cancer. I can only imagine how tough it must be but also how strong these mothers also tend to become. 

Last year, CNA had reported on two such mothers who had the unfortunate experience of having to deal with the disease during their pregnancy and postpartum period. I strongly encourage you to check these stories out to learn more about mothers who have to go through this. Hopefully, as you learn about this risk new mothers have, and especially mothers who are older in age, you will be more active in supporting them in their postpartum journeys.

Some tangible ways we can help them include:

  • Bring them healthy, nourishing meals
  • Offer to babysit so they can rest or go for hospital visits
  • Offer to help bottle-feed baby
  • Send help for their chores (especially if they don't have any live-in helper)

Otherwise, a simple gift like our RELAX Kit with some words of encouragement showing you are in their thoughts can also be useful in lifting their spirits. I hope these are able to help get you all started in blessing new moms around you! 

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