With more and more youngsters falling prey to Cancer, the effect of Cancer treatment on fertility is an issue under serious discussion.However, Much depends on the type of Cancer, the stage, the part affected and the treatment undergone.
Though some types of Cancer and resulting treatments can permanently damage your fertility, its is encouraging that many Cancer survivors go on to deliver healthy babies.
Cancer treatments affecting fertility in a woman:
Any Cancer affecting the reproductive organs and areas in and around the reproductive organs like Stomach, Colon, Ovarian and Cervical Cancers require treatments that might cause permanent damage to the reproductive organs.
Chemotherapy-Chemotherapy can cause permanent or temporary infertility depending on the dose and type of the drugs used. Chemotherapy can also trigger an early menopause in younger women. It is best advised to discuss with the doctor and choose a treatment that has minimal side effects to protect your fertility.
Radiotherapy-Thought most radiotherapy treatments are safe and do not cause infertility, some treatments on specific parts of the body like brain, pelvis and total body irradiation could cause infertility. In such cases, one can think of using a protective lead shield on the ovaries to minimize the effects. Surgical removal of ovaries during treatment is another option that is available for younger women.
Hormone therapy-Women are advised to take contraceptive measures while on hormone therapy. Though Hormone therapy has temporary side effects, some women may go into an early menopause after the treatment. It is important to discuss other options if you wish to safeguard your fertility.
Surgery-Surgeries that involve removal of the womb, ovaries, vagina and cervix will render you unable to have a baby. Though early detection can save your reproductive organs to a certain extent, there are chances of miscarriage at any stage of pregnancy.
When to conceive?
No set of guidelines exist as to how long a woman has to wait before trying to conceive. Nevertheless, doctors normally advice a safe gap of six months to prevent any chance of a damaged egg being fertilized. It is also advisable to wait for 2 to 4 years if your age permits. This would give you enough time to confirm that the Cancer does not recur.
The best way to confirm your fertility is to consult a fertility specialist who can also guide you as to the infertility treatments available in case our body is not receptive of a pregnancy cycle.
Many cancer survivors are scared that they could pass it on to their baby or the cancer might recur while they are pregnant. However, no study has proved these theories to be correct. With the development of science, many treatment options are available for Cancer survivors in the infertility scenario. It is certainly good news for many women out there who have bravely fought the disease and come out unscathed.