THE number of women suffering breast cancer during pregnancy is likely to rise as more of them delay motherhood, a Leeds lecturer warned.
Catherine Jack, of the school of healthcare at the University of Leeds, told the Royal College of Nursing's research conference that women faced a "double whammy".
The prognosis for women with breast cancer during pregnancy is often poorer because of the late stage at which it is detected.
There are 8,000 new cases of breast cancer in women before the menopause each year - 3% will be pregnant when diagnosed.
Ms Jack said: "With more women delaying childbearing, and the fact that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, we are likely to see even more women with pregnancy-associated breast cancer in the future.
"This is a real double whammy for women as it's a unique combination of two major life events.
"They may feel even more isolated as there's a lack of research about women's experiences in this area.
"The challenge for the health profession is treating these women as a distinct group with specific needs compared to other women with breast cancer."