BREAST CARE, vol.9, no.5, pp.355-359, 2014 (SCI-Expanded)
Background: The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the clinicopathological characteristics of patients with pregnancy-associated breast cancer (PABC), with a special focus on diagnostic delays and the identifiable causes of diagnostic delays. Patients and methods: Clinicopathological data of patients treated for PABC between 2003 and 2012 at Hacettepe University Hospital was retrospectively reviewed. Results: 20 patients with PABC were included. The pathological examination revealed predominance of invasive ductal carcinoma (80%), grade III tumors (65%) and advanced-stage (III-IV) disease (75%). In 8 patients (40%), there was a diagnostic delay between occurrence of the presenting symptoms and the initiation of breast mass workup. For these 8 patients, the main identifiable causes of diagnostic delay were the attribution of disease-related symptoms to pregnancy or lactation in 5 (63%) and negligence of symptoms in 2 (25%). Conclusions: PABC mostly presents with advanced-stage disease, and there can be a substantial diagnostic delay before these patients receive treatment. Preconceptional, gestational and postpartum examination of women of reproductive age should include a thorough breast examination and should provide adequate information regarding the physiological changes in breast tissue and the possible pathological symptoms.