What to Know: Breast Cancer and Fertility Treatment
1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, and news that their family plans may be affected can make the situation even more heart-wrenching. But does undergoing treatment for breast cancer mean patients will be rendered infertile? In their latest blog post, the fertility experts of IVF FLORIDA’s south Florida fertility clinics discuss which common breast cancer treatments can impact fertility and what fertility preservation options are available.
Chemotherapy & Infertility
One of the most common breast cancer treatments, chemotherapy, carries one of the highest risks of temporary or permanent infertility in women undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Depending on the doses, chemotherapy drugs, and the woman’s age, chemotherapy can cause women to go into menopause early.
Certain chemotherapy drugs are known to carry a higher risk of infertility in women. It is vital for women needing chemotherapy to speak with their oncologist and a fertility specialist to go over options for parenthood.
For some women, temporary or permanent ovarian shutdown can be necessary to treat their hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer using medication or surgery. Women who are given medication to cause ovarian shutdown may experience temporary infertility, which often resolves itself once they stop the medicine. If surgery is used to remove ovaries, infertility is permanent. Fertility specialists at IVF FLORIDA can discuss options to preserve fertility.
Radiation & Hormone Therapy
According to BreastCancer.org, radiation treatment for breast cancer does not affect fertility. But if a patient who wants to start a family in the future is also having chemotherapy, they should consider fertility treatment BEFORE they start radiation. While most fertile women undergoing hormone therapy will have their fertility return to normal after stopping treatment, others have reported difficulty achieving a pregnancy afterward.
Fertility Preservation Options
So what can you do if you want to have children in the future but will need treatment that can cause you to become infertile? Women today can undergo fertility preservation treatment to store eggs or embryos for future use. Women need to discuss these options with their oncologist and, if medically advisable, schedule an egg retrieval cycle before starting cancer treatment.
For women facing a cancer diagnosis, the possibility of infertility on top of cancer treatments can be overwhelming – but it is imperative to plan for your future after beating cancer. If you are facing a cancer diagnosis and are concerned about your ability to have a child in the future, the fertility specialists of IVF FLORIDA are here for you. Contact us today at 954-247-6200 to speak with a team member and learn more about the fertility preservation options available to you.