After surviving cancer, a lot of people want to have kids. However, after taking cancer treatments, it can be harder to you to get pregnant. Read on to find out what kinds of treatment that can affect your fertility and other concerns of parents that received cancer treatments.
Which Treatments Can Affect Fertility?
Before you receive treatment, most doctors will tell you if the procedure affects your reproductive organs or not. This information will help you to know what to expect, mentally and physically. Some cancer treatments include the possibility of infertility, namely:
Some chemotherapy drugs used in the procedure of curing cancer can leave more severe effects (infertility, for example) than others. Cytoxan (or generically known as cyclophosphamide) is part of a chemo drug group named alkylating agent. The higher the doses given to you, the more likely that your productive organs will be affected.
On the other hand, other chemotherapy drugs and combinations of drugs can also affect your fertility. Since there is a wide range of chemotherapy drugs, if you intend to have children later on, consult with your doctor to figure out the treatment with the lowest risk.
Radiation treatments contain the risk of damaging the sperm and eggs. If the radiation treatment focuses on or near the pelvic area, it is very likely that the woman’s ovaries will be damaged. As for men, their sperm count can be reduced. These changes can either go away after some time or stay permanently.
According to the type and targeted area of the cancer treatment, the doctors can shield the testes or ovaries from being damaged, or even move the ovaries out of the path of the radiation (known as transposition).
As for patients who have cancer in parts of their reproductive organs, the doctors may sometimes have to remove those parts in order to stop the spread of cancer.
The risk of your baby getting cancer
Many cancer survivors worry that their children may get cancer as well. Nevertheless, studies show that children of cancer survivors are not likely to get cancer. Some cancers are known to be hereditary, which can be passed from the parents to their child. If you have hereditary cancer, you children are at a higher risk of getting cancer. Talk with your doctor or genetic counselor before deciding whether you should have children or not.
Some cancer treatments make it very hard or even impossible for cancer survivors to have children. Therefore, have a talk with your doctor about potential infertility before any treatments. Options for preserving fertility can also be taken if needed.
Review Date: December 1, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
Having a Baby After Cancer: Pregnancy, http://www.cancer.net/survivorship/life-after-cancer/having-baby-after-cancer-pregnancy Accessed December 1, 2016.
How cancer treatments can affect fertility in women, http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/physicalsideeffects/sexualsideeffectsinwomen/fertilityandwomenwithcancer/fertility-and-women-with-cancer-how-cancer-treatments-affect-fertility Accessed December 1, 2016.
Can I Have Children After Cancer Treatments, http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/fertility.html Accessed December 1, 2016.