A breast exam helps ensure a healthy pregnancy
Before you start fertility treatment, it’s wise to rule out any illnesses that could cause problems during pregnancy. That’s why at our Los Angeles fertility center, a clinical breast exam is one essential item that should be checked off your “to do” list before your fertility treatment begins.
A routine breast exam — typically performed by your OBGYN during your annual well visit — can help reassure both you and your fertility specialist that breast cancer is one less thing you’ll need to worry about during pregnancy. Depending on your age and other risk factors, you may also be asked to have a mammogram or other imaging study of your breast tissue.
Breast exam first, fertility treatment second
Entering pregnancy with undiagnosed breast cancer is risky for both baby and mother. If breast cancer should need to be treated during pregnancy, the fetus could be harmed by harsh cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, surgery or radiation. Alternately, delaying cancer treatment until after the delivery would allow the disease to progress unchecked, endangering the mother’s life.
Before you begin fertility treatment at our Los Angeles fertility center, Mark Rispler, M.D., our board certified reproductive endocrinologist, will ask you about your recent breast exams or mammograms and request the results from your OBGYN. Be sure to tell Dr. Rispler if you have a family history of breast cancer.
Share your results with your fertility specialist
If you have not had a recent breast health check, you will be encouraged to visit your OBGYN for a clinical breast exam before fertility treatment begins. In this simple, quick exam, your doctor will carefully check your breasts, underarms and chest area, feeling for any abnormal areas or lumps.
In addition to a physical breast exam, some higher-risk women may need a more thorough study of their breast tissue using X-ray or other imaging technologies that can detect breast cancer before it can be felt. The American Cancer Society recommends:
- Regular screening mammography for women with an average risk of breast cancer, starting at age 45
- The opportunity for women to begin annual mammography screening between the ages of 40 and 44
- Earlier and more frequent screening for women with a higher risk of breast cancer
If you have questions about breast health and fertility treatment, please contact us. The entire team at our Los Angeles fertility center cares about your health and wellbeing.