Around the world, many women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are worried about their fertility. Dr Pallavi Prasad, fertility consultant at NOVA IVF Fertility, Bengaluru, says pregnancy in women with breast cancer, or those who have been treated for it, is difficult.
“Cancer treatments are necessary because they save lives, but treatment can harm reproductive organs and glands, leading to infertility. The changes in fertility can be temporary or permanent, ”she says, adding that it is advisable to consult your medical team to find out what to expect based on your treatment.
* Chemotherapy can prevent the ovaries from producing eggs and estrogen.
* Radiation therapy on or near the abdomen, pelvis, or spine can damage reproductive organs.
* Surgery on the abdomen and pelvis can damage nearby reproductive tissues and cause scarring, affecting your fertility.
* Hormone therapy used to treat cancer can disrupt the menstrual cycle, affecting fertility.
* High doses of chemotherapy and / or radiation therapy are used in recipients of bone marrow transplants, peripheral blood stem cell transplants and other stem cell transplants.
The degree to which fertility is affected is determined by factors such as:
1. Reference fertility
2. Age at the time of treatment
3. The type of cancer
4. The course of treatment
5. The amount of processing
6. The duration of treatment
7. The time since cancer treatment
8. Other aspects of personal health
Is it impossible to have a child after being diagnosed with breast cancer?
“Certain treatments for breast cancer can have an impact on a woman’s fertility. Despite this, many women are able to conceive after treatment. The best time to discuss fertility with your doctor is before you start treatment for breast cancer, ”says Dr Prasad.
Could treatment for breast cancer harm an unborn baby?
If you are still undergoing treatment for breast cancer, such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or targeted therapy, check with your doctor before trying to conceive. These drugs have the potential to harm the developing fetus, so it is best to postpone pregnancy until all treatments are completed. It is also important to remember that stopping treatment too soon increases the risk of the cancer growing or coming back, the doctor warns.
Breastfeeding after undergoing treatment for breast cancer
Breastfeeding from the affected breast may be difficult if you have had surgery and / or radiation therapy. Studies show that there is less milk production in this breast, as well as structural changes that can make breastfeeding painful or difficult for the baby to latch on. Despite this, many women are able to breastfeed.
It is essential that you consult your doctor before attempting to breast-feed. Some medicines can pass into breast milk and affect the baby.
“Since many breast cancers are sensitive to estrogen, there are concerns that high levels of hormones caused by pregnancy may increase the risk of cancer recurrence in women who have previously had breast cancer. Pregnancy, on the other hand, does not always increase the risk of cancer recurrence after successful treatment, ”explains the doctor.
?? For more lifestyle news, follow us on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook and don’t miss the latest updates!