Mammogram While Breastfeeding

One in eight U.S. ladies will establish breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. And numerous females find that while they’re breastfeeding or pumping, they’re more conscious than ever of their breast health, consisting of how they can lower the risk of breast cancer and what warning signs to look for.

Breast cancer screening and detection is an important part of preserving health throughout your lifetime. This is true even when you’re breastfeeding. The good news is that it is totally safe to have a mammogram, ultrasound, and MRI while breastfeeding. Also, there is very little danger of having a biopsy.

Discovering a lump in your breast is frightening! Fortunately, most lumps in a lactating mother’s breasts are either milk-filled glands or inflammation, such as an obstructed duct or mastitis. If the swelling hurts, it is most likely mastitis. Check out this page for info on dealing with mastitis.

If the lump does not disappear after a week of care treatment for a blocked duct/ mastitis or if you are experiencing abrupt flu-like signs or a high fever, or are at all worried, call your healthcare provider. If you notice red streaks on your breasts seek medical attention as they are a sign of an infection that, left neglected, can become sepsis, a harmful issue of infection.

While some females currently know that breastfeeding and pumping can lower their dangers, there are more breast cancer and breastfeeding realities to know. We’re taking on some of the most typical questions to keep all breastfeeding moms notified.

Breastfeeding causes breast tissue to become denser (thick, fibrous), and often triggers an increase in safe swellings and bumps, like plugged ducts and milk-filled cysts. Very rarely are these lumps due to breast cancer. If you detect a lump, nodule, or bump in your breast while breastfeeding and are concerned (possibly it does not go away after a couple of days or more of nursing, for example), it’s always best to visit your doctor for additional examination and tests. Either your obstetrician, midwife, or medical care medical professional can assist you to assess your breast and identify if more diagnostic testing is required.

If you are somebody who receives annual screening mammograms, ultrasounds, or MRI for breast cancer detection due to your age, personal history, or family history, it is very important to discuss with your main medical professional or breast expert medical professional about screening and breastfeeding. If you have a history and or higher risk of breast cancer, it is recommended to continue regular screenings.

If you are healthy and do not have a history or higher danger of breastfeeding, and you start breastfeeding when you are at the suggested age (generally 40) for a regular yearly mammogram, the majority of doctors recommend to still proceed with advised screenings. Unfortunately, breast cancer can occur in people who are otherwise healthy and who do not have a family history. You might want to discuss with your medical professional– a medical professional who is well versed in evaluating breast cancer threat– the timing of your screening. The earlier you are in your breastfeeding (very first few months), the breast tissue is a lot denser. Your medical professional may suggest delaying the test for a number of months for clearer imaging outcomes.

What causes lumps in lactating women?

Ladies who breastfeed might feel swellings in their breasts. Most of the time, these lumps aren’t cancerous. Breast lumps in lactating women might be due to:


Mastitis is an infection of the breast tissue caused by germs or a blocked milk duct. You may have signs such as:

  • breast inflammation;
  • swelling;
  • discomfort;
  • fever;
  • skin soreness;
  • skin heat.

Breast abscesses

If mastitis isn’t dealt with, an unpleasant abscess including pus can develop. This mass may look like a swollen swelling that’s red and hot.


Fibroadenomas are benign (noncancerous) tumors that can develop in the breast. They might feel like marbles when you touch them. They usually move under the skin and aren’t tender.


These safe milk-filled cysts are typically pain-free. In general, noncancerous swellings feel smooth and round and move within the breast. Malignant swellings are generally difficult and irregular fit and they don’t move.

Early symptoms of breast cancer

Swellings aren’t the only sign of breast cancer. Other early signs might include:

  • nipple discharge;
  • breast discomfort that does not disappear;
  • change in size, shape, or appearance of the breast;
  • redness or darkening of the breast;
  • itchy or sore rash on the nipple;
  • swelling or warmth of the breast.

Can breastfeeding help in reducing my threat of breast cancer?

Yes! Lots of studies have revealed that breastfeeding reduces your threat of establishing breast cancer. And, the longer you breastfeed in your lifetime, the more the danger is reduced.

Is it possible to breastfeed after breast cancer?

Lots of mothers wish to breastfeed after undergoing breast cancer treatment, and while it may provide a couple of difficulties, it’s certainly possible. If you have actually had a single mastectomy or lumpectomy, you can nurse on just one breast, which often supplies enough milk. However, if you’re struggling to develop a supply, try working with a Lactation Consultant and think about using a specialty feeding gadget. It can be exceptionally empowering to be able to supply breast milk to your kid after such a painful experience.

Does breastfeeding prevent any other cancers?

Current studies reveal that females who breastfeed also lower their risk of establishing both endometrial and ovarian cancers. And, much like with breast cancer, the longer a female breastfeeds, the lower her danger becomes.

Can I get breast cancer while I’m breastfeeding?

While it’s really uncommon, a little percentage of ladies do develop breast cancer while they are breastfeeding. Nursing breasts are often lumpy and bumpy due to regular breast fullness, and occasional plugged ducts. Simply make sure to take note of how your breasts usually feel and make certain you understand the signs of a suspicious lump that requires medical attention.

While you’re breastfeeding, you’re more likely to be in tune with how your breasts look, but it’s also essential to bear in mind to continue doing regular at-home breast checks. Usually, a concerning swelling is one that does not go away; it might be firm and non-painful, will remain in a fixed position, and may cause the skin around it to pucker and look like the stippled skin of an orange. If you have any concerns or issues about something you feel in your breasts, be sure to get it had a look at by your doctor.

What if I feel a lump in my breast while pregnant?

If you are expectant as well as notice any kind of issues with your breasts (such as swelling), we advise you instantly notify your health care carrier. Your health care service provider may get a breast ultrasound. Occasionally, a mammogram is likewise needed to examine the area of concern in your breast. A mammogram would just be done if definitely required, as well as can be securely performed while pregnant, as your tummy would be covered by a lead guard.

Although breast cancers in lactating women are extremely uncommon they are known to take place. Adjustments or irregularities of any type of kind in your breast need to be explored with the very same degree of issue regardless of whether you are breastfeeding or otherwise. Research shows that breastfeeding is associated with decreased mortality in ladies with breast cancer.

RELATED: Normal Age To Stop Breastfeeding

Should I get a screening mammogram when I’m pregnant?

Mammography while pregnant is normally safe because the quantity of radiation from a mammogram is minimal. Nonetheless, we do not advise obtaining a screening mammogram when you are expectant. You need to delay your screening mammogram until after you deliver your child.

When you are nursing, the milk collecting in your breast glands enhances the density of your cells, which can potentially make it more challenging to discover problems on your mammogram. We commonly recommend you postpone screening as well as schedule your following screening mammogram three months after you end up nursing. However, if you go to high threat for bust cancer, or have not had screening mammography in several years and are above the age of 40, please review this with your healthcare carrier because a testing mammogram may still be recommended.

If you are nursing and see an issue with your bust, such as a lump, we advise you to make a consultation to see your health care carrier. They might set up an analysis mammogram or ultrasound to assess the lump. These examinations ought to not be delayed while breastfeeding if there is an issue concerning your busts.

If you need a mammogram while you are nursing, please pump or nurse your infant about 30 minutes before your examination.

Does the mammogram affect milk production?

No. The mammogram does not impact your milk at all. It will certainly not reduce your milk production, and it will be entirely risk-free to nurse your baby right away after you are finished with your examination.

The difficulty with imaging testings (ultrasound, mammogram, MRI) while breastfeeding is that since the breast cells is so dense, the photos can be more difficult to check out and analyze. Due to this, it is essential to request that the radiologist who reads your photos is experienced in checking out photos of a lactating breast.

Tips for Imaging Tests While Breastfeeding

  1. It’s best, both for your comfort as well as the quality of the test, for your busts to be as empty as possible before having an imaging test done. Plan to either bring your nursing infant or kid to your appointment and also registered nurse prior to the examination. Or, bring a bust pump with you to utilize prior to the test. When making your consultation, let the office know that you will certainly need time and/or room to breastfeed prior to the test( s) are carried out.
  2. Make sure when making your visit to the imaging area that there is a radiologist available who is experienced in reading photos of lactating breasts. Normally, there is more than one imaging clinic in a provided area, in case you need to check in other places.
  3. Let your imaging specialist know that you are breastfeeding to make sure that they can make any kind of adjustments essential to make testing much more comfortable.
  4. You do not need to stop nursing or “pump and also dump” prior to or after any one of these imaging examinations. Also, MRI, which uses a contrast option using IV, does not harm bust milk or position a threat to babies/children. Just 0.04% of the solution reaches breast milk and also only 1-2% of that is absorbed by the child, and also for that reason does not present a danger.

However, lactation can make it more difficult to translate the pictures obtained with both mammography and also sonography of the breast. As a result, before deciding just how to proceed, a breastfeeding mom and her medical professional ought to discuss the following:

1) Can and should the imaging be delayed until the mother is no longer breastfeeding?

Imaging performed as part of an analysis workup (for a palpable mass, for example) must never ever be delayed because a female is nursing! Likewise, a mommy ought to never ever be recommended to wean in order to go through analysis imaging of a bust issue. Rather especially, it can frequently take weeks to months for nursing cells to change back to the “normal” appearance of non-lactating bust cells on imaging. It would be possibly unsafe and unsuitable to delay analysis for that time period.

Typically, however, mammograms and sonograms are used in healthy ladies to screen for breast cancer when there are currently no breast signs and symptoms or issues. These are called “screening researches” (in comparison to “diagnostic research studies” which are carried out to review a specific sign or problem).

In cases in which screening research is advised, a woman ought to speak with her doctor about the benefits and drawbacks of undergoing breast screening imaging while she is lactating. Depending upon her own personal underlying danger of breast cancer cells, as well as relying on her very own thoughts regarding the benefits of testing contrasted to the risks of testing (such as false alarms as well as “overdiagnosis” of illness), a breastfeeding mommy may choose to delay breast cancer screening imaging for some time period. It should be noted that the breast cells of a female beforehand in lactation may be denser than later on in lactation when a child usually nurses much less frequently. Therefore, the picture quality may be much better later on in lactation than during the very early months of breastfeeding. This ought to additionally be thought about when planning the timing of screening imaging. The choice of when to begin breast testing imaging should be made after mindful factor to consider and also conversation with a physician that is skilled in breast cancer cells risk analysis and screening.

2) Who will be interpreting the breast images?

It may be useful for a nursing woman to have a mammogram or breast sonogram carried out at a bust imaging facility that makes use of specialized bust radiologists (instead of radiologists that do not concentrate on breast imaging as well as that, therefore, have less experience translating bust pictures). A dedicated bust radiologist will certainly be more likely to have a convenience degree and competence in interpreting images of a breastfeeding bust.

3) How can the quality of the mammogram and breast sonogram be maximized?

A lactating mommy needs to try to have her busts as “empty” as feasible throughout breast imaging. She could bring her breast pump or her nursing youngster (as well as one more liable grownup that can care for the youngster during the imaging research) with her to her imaging visit. She can after that get rid of as much milk as feasible (through nursing, pumping, or hand expression) immediately prior to the breast imaging research studies are performed. It is generally helpful for a breastfeeding mother to speak to the imaging center ahead of the scheduled research in order to set up a time and also the location for pumping or nursing prior to the imaging is done. If such arrangements are not feasible, she might be able to come up with an “imaginative” service such as pumping or nursing in her cars and truck prior to entering into the imaging center.

Furthermore, a lactating mom who will certainly be having a mammogram ought to talk about the opportunity of using breast tomosynthesis (3D mammography) rather than conventional mammogram innovation for her imaging. Tomosynthesis is better able to “translucent” the thick breast cells that are frequently present in lactating females. It can enhance the capacity to discover disease in the bust and may likewise reduce the possibility of the “false alarms” which can result in unneeded procedures and also an unnecessary problem.

Biopsy and Breastfeeding

If your physician establishes after imaging results that you ought to have a biopsy to inspect definitively for cancer cells, you ought to understand that needle biopsy as well is secure to go through throughout breastfeeding. It is advised that the smallest needle that can be used to identify medical diagnosis ought to be used. The only danger with biopsy is an extremely uncommon one and also is called a milk fistula, which is chronic milk leakage. According to the University of Massachusetts Breastmilk Lab, the risk is so unusual that when it does take place, it is written as an instance report. Nursing after a needle biopsy is risk-free and urged.

Some parents are erroneously informed that they should wean before an imaging examination or biopsy, or pump and also dump for a period of time after the testing. If you are told to do so, recognize that this suggestion is not based on the best evidence. Seek a various viewpoint from a person that is well versed in breastfeeding.

How breast cancer is diagnosed?

If your physician thinks breast cancer cells, they’ll execute certain examinations to make a medical diagnosis. A mammogram or ultrasound can offer photos of the swelling and also assist your medical professional to identify if the mass looks suspicious. You could likewise require a biopsy, which includes eliminating a small sample from the lump to test for cancer. If you’re nursing, a radiologist could have a more challenging time reviewing your mammogram. Your doctor might suggest you quit breastfeeding before having analysis tests, but this advice is rather debatable. Most females can have screening treatments such as mammograms, needle biopsies, and also specific kinds of surgical treatment while nursing an infant. Talk with your medical professional about the benefits as well as risks of breastfeeding while getting diagnostic examinations.

Therapy while breastfeeding

If you have bust cancer while lactating, you may need a surgical procedure, radiation treatment, or radiation. Your physician will certainly assist you to choose which treatments are best for your specific problem.

Surgery and breastfeeding

You might have the ability to proceed to breastfeed before and also after having surgery to eliminate your growth relying on the type of treatment. Speak to your doctor concerning whether it’s secure for you and your baby to continue breastfeeding. If you have a double mastectomy, you will not have the ability to nurse. Treating a bust with radiation after a lumpectomy indicates it typically produces little or no milk. You may be able to nurse with the untreated breast, nevertheless. Ask your medical professional what medicines you’ll obtain prior to and after surgical treatment and if they’re safe for a child who’s nursed. You may need to pump your milk and also discard it for a period of time before resuming breastfeeding.

Chemotherapy and breastfeeding

If you need chemotherapy, you’ll have to stop breastfeeding your baby. The powerful drugs used in chemotherapy can affect how cells divide in the body.

Radiation therapy and also breastfeeding

You might be able to continue breastfeeding while receiving radiation therapy. It depends on the type of radiation you have. Some women can breastfeed with the unaffected breast only.

Treatment side effects

It’s important to bear in mind that you could experience adverse effects from therapy. These could consist of:

  • fatigue;
  • weak point;
  • discomfort;
  • nausea;
  • fat burning.

You might intend to request help with child care so you have time to rest as well as recuperate.

Bust cancer cell testing is an integral part of your general health as well as it should not be ignored when you are nursing. Similarly, breastfeeding should not need to be stopped if you require to be evaluated. The good news is, the testing and tests most commonly used all work with breastfeeding, so you can proceed to breastfeed and also do what is needed to keep tabs on your health and wellness!

You may also like...


  1. Allison Hill says:

    I faced a similar situation.I felt something in my chest when I was breastfeeding, and I was very scared. I went to the doctor.. I knew you couldn’t get a mammogram when you were breastfeeding..I asked the doctor, is mammogram safe during breastfeeding? but the doctor advised me to wait until the end of breastfeeding..I did not feed for a long time, then I had a mammogram, but it turned out to be nothing serious..

    1. Alicia, Pregnancy Day by Day says:

      Dear Allison Hill, thank you for your comment! and thank you for reading our blog Pregnancy Day by Day We appreciate that you shared your story with us! It is always better to follow the doctor’s recommendations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *