Breast cancer is a serious concern for women of all ages, including those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. While mammography is typically not recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding due to potential risks to the fetus or infant, contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM) may be an option for women who need to be screened for breast cancer. In this article, we will discuss whether pregnant or breastfeeding women can undergo CEM.
First, it is important to understand what CEM is and how it differs from traditional mammography. CEM is a type of imaging technique that uses a contrast agent to highlight areas of the breast that have increased blood flow. The contrast agent is injected into the bloodstream, and then images are taken of the breast tissue using specialized equipment. CEM can help detect breast cancer in its early stages and is considered to be a more sensitive imaging technique than traditional mammography.
For pregnant women, CEM is generally not recommended due to potential risks to the fetus from the contrast agent. While there is limited research on the safety of contrast agents during pregnancy, most healthcare providers will advise against the use of any imaging technique that involves a contrast agent during pregnancy unless it is absolutely necessary. However, if a pregnant woman is at high risk for breast cancer and needs to be screened, her healthcare provider may recommend other imaging techniques that do not use contrast agents, such as ultrasound or MRI.
For breastfeeding women, the decision to undergo CEM will depend on a number of factors. While there is no evidence that contrast agents are harmful to infants, there is a risk that the contrast agent could be passed through breast milk to the baby. If a breastfeeding woman needs to undergo CEM, her healthcare provider may recommend that she pump and store breast milk prior to the procedure so that she can continue breastfeeding after the contrast agent has cleared from her system.
In conclusion, pregnant women are generally not advised to undergo contrast-enhanced mammography due to potential risks to the fetus. For breastfeeding women, the decision to undergo CEM will depend on a number of factors, including the risk of breast cancer and the need for imaging. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their healthcare provider about appropriate screening options for breast cancer. If you have any concerns about your breast health, it is important to discuss them with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.