But now more women with cancer and their doctors are starting or continuing treatment while pregnant.

“Cognitively we know we’re not going to live forever, but you don’t put any thought into planning the future until all of a sudden you’re faced with mortality.” All four women emphasized the importance of having a strong support network during treatment, which may include family, friends, partners, or mental health professionals.

“I don’t know if I could’ve done it by myself,” said Ameden, who was diagnosed when she was 29.

“[My fiancée and I] actually got engaged during my chemo treatment.

For many years, both doctors and women were often unsure about how to deal with cancer during pregnancy.

Therefore, it is important to find a doctor who has experience treating pregnant women with cancer. The cancers that tend to occur during pregnancy are also more common in younger people.

These cancers include the following: Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed during pregnancy. Because breasts typically enlarge and change texture during pregnancy, changes from cancer may be difficult to detect. As a result, pregnant women with breast cancer may diagnosed later than non-pregnant women. This is because some cancer symptoms, such as bloating, headaches, breast changes, or rectal bleeding, are also common during pregnancy.

On the other hand, pregnancy can sometimes uncover cancer.

Young women with breast cancer face many unique emotional challenges: They may be in college, dating, starting a career, raising a family, or trying to start one.

“Cancer disrupts many aspects of young adulthood such as family planning, careers, relationships, sexuality, and sexual health,” said Karen Fasciano, Psy D, clinical psychologist and director of Dana-Farber’s Young Adult Program, who recently joined four young women in different stages of breast cancer treatment to discuss their experiences.