What If Im In Menopause When Im Ready To Get Pregnant
If youre in menopause from your treatment, you wont be able to get pregnant naturally. You will need to use eggs or embryos you froze before your treatment or get an egg from a donor. Unless you have other gynecologic or health problems, you should be able to carry a pregnancy. But, when youre in menopause, your ovaries dont make the hormones needed to thicken the lining of your uterus, getting it ready for an embryo to implant and grow. Your fertility doctors will prescribe you hormones to take before your embryo transfer. You will also need to take hormones for 3 months after the transfer to help you with your pregnancy.
If I Froze Eggs Or Embryos Before Treatment Should I Use Them Or Should I Try To Get Pregnant Naturally
If you finished your treatment, you can try to get pregnant naturally if you want to. If you dont get pregnant after 3 to 4 months of trying, you may want to be evaluated by your reproductive endocrinologist . If your egg supply is low, you may have more success if you use your frozen eggs or embryos.
If youre interrupting treatment with endocrine therapy, its important to limit your time off of treatment. In this case, you may want to use your frozen eggs or embryos instead of trying to become pregnant naturally.
Menstrual Changes And Fertility Issues
For younger women, changes in menstrual periods are a common side effect of chemo. Premature menopause and infertility may occur and could be permanent. If this happens, there is an increased risk of heart disease, bone loss, and osteoporosis. There are medicines that can treat or help prevent bone loss.
Even if your periods stop while you are on chemo, you may still be able to get pregnant. Getting pregnant while on chemo could lead to birth defects and interfere with treatment. If you have not gone through menopause before treatment and are sexually active, its important to discuss using birth control with your doctor. It is not a good idea for women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer to take hormonal birth control , so its important to talk with both your oncologist and your gynecologist about what options would be best for you. When women have finished treatment , they can safely go on to have children, but it’s not safe to get pregnant while being treated.
If you think you might want to have children after being treated for breast cancer, talk with your doctor soon after being diagnosed and before you start treatment. For some women, adding medicines, like monthly injections with a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone analog, along with chemo, can help them have a successful pregnancy after cancer treatment. To learn more, see Female Fertility and Cancer.
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How Does Cancer Treatment Affect Fertility
The likelihood of reproductive damage from cancer treatment depends on several factors, including your age and fertility status at diagnosis, gender, cancer type and stage, and the treatment type, length and dosage.
The following are some ways cancer may affect fertility:
Surgery: Surgery to parts of the reproductive system may cause infertility. Sometimes surgery may cause scarring in the fallopian tubes, which may prevent eggs from traveling to meet sperm. Some other types of surgery for men may damage nerves, causing problems with ejaculation.
Chemotherapy: Depending on the type and dosage of drugs used, chemotherapy may damage or destroy a womans eggs or a mans sperm, reduce sperm production or limit sperm mobility. It may also affect a womans menstrual cycle, causing a stop in ovulation or early menopause.
Other treatments: A stem cell transplant may affect fertility because the procedure generally involves high doses of chemotherapy and sometimes radiation therapy. Hormone therapies may sometimes affect fertility, but it is usually temporary.
Fathering A Child After Cancer Treatment
Men can try to have a child after cancer treatment ends. There are no firm rules for how long men should wait after treatment, but health care providers usually recommend waiting 2 to 5 years. Sperm may be damaged by chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Those sperm should be replaced in 2 years. Even if a child is conceived soon after treatment ends, there is no research showing that he or she will have a greater risk of developing serious health problems.
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Increased Risk Of Leukemia
Very rarely, certain chemo drugs, such as doxorubicin , can cause diseases of the bone marrow, such as myelodysplastic syndromes or even acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of white blood cells. If this happens, it is usually within 10 years after treatment. For most women, the benefits of chemo in helping prevent breast cancer from coming back or in extending life are far likely to exceed the risk of this rare but serious complication.
Cancers Linked To Treatment With Tamoxifen
Taking tamoxifen lowers the chance of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer coming back. It also lowers the risk of a second breast cancer. Tamoxifen does, however, increase the risk for uterine cancer . Still, the overall risk of uterine cancer in most women taking tamoxifen is low, and studies have shown that the benefits of this drug in treating breast cancer are greater than the risk of a second cancer.
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Should I Delay My Pregnancy Until My Treatment Ends
There is no evidence that getting pregnant raises the chances that your breast cancer may come back. Some doctors may recommend waiting 6 months to 2 years after your diagnosis to try to have a baby. But the longer time may not be necessary for every woman.
If you have a hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, you may need hormone therapy for up to 10 years. In that case, your doctor may recommend staying on hormones for at least a couple of years before you try to conceive. Studies show that a history of breast cancer has no direct bearing on an unborn baby, or raise the risk of birth defects or other health problems.
Options If You Can’t Become Pregnant After Treatment
Even if you are not able to produce eggs after treatment, you can still be a parent. There are a number of options for you, including: Fertility Treatments: In vitro fertilization using donor eggs or your own eggs. You may also choose to freeze eggs or ovarian tissue for fertilization much later. Surrogacy: A woman carries your baby to term and delivers your baby for you. This could be using your partner’s sperm to fertilize one or a few of your eggs. Adoption: Adoption is also available to just about anyone who would like to become a parent. It’s helpful to talk to an adoption counsellor who can assist you through the process. Remember to reach out to your healthcare team if you are concerned about pregnancy and fertility issues. They can help you navigate your options. after BREAST CANCER focuses on the women who have survived, women who dont have insurance, women who cannot have their basic needs met after a mastectomy or lumpectomy surgery. If you need support, please .
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Residual Concerns About Risk
Studies have found that about half of young women with breast cancer say they would like to have a child after completing treatment. But some treatments for breast cancer, such as certain types of chemotherapy, can cause infertility.
Fertility preservation after a breast cancer diagnosis can be complicated. While men can bank sperm quickly, collecting eggs from a woman and potentially creating fertilized embryos for storage requires delaying some parts of cancer treatment for weeks or months.
In addition, methods used for preserving fertility at diagnosisand then later in assisted reproductive technology to conceiveinvolve the use of hormones that cause estrogen levels to rise. Historically, health care providers had concerns that these procedures could pose a risk for women with breast cancer, especially those with hormone receptorpositive tumors.
Many women also take drugs to block hormones for up to 5 years after surgery for breast cancer. If they want to get pregnant during that time, a treatment interruption is required, explained Ann Partridge, M.D., who leads a clinic for young breast cancer survivors at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and was not involved in the study. And pregnancy itself produces a bevy of hormones for 9 months that could potentially fuel the growth of breast cancer cells, she added.
Breast Cancer Metastasis Hazard Factors
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How Cancer Treatments May Affect Pregnancy
Treatments can affect a future pregnancy in many ways:
Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy may affect the support cells and blood supply of the uterus. It also may increase the chances of miscarriage, early birth, low birth weight, and other problems.
Surgery to the cervix. Removing all or part of the cervix may make miscarriage or early birth more likely. This is because the cervix may not be able to support a developing pregnancy.
Chemotherapy. Anthracycline chemotherapy includes treatment with doxorubicin , daunorubicin , epirubicin , and idarubicin . These treatments may damage heart cells and weaken the heart.
As a result, the heart needs to work harder during pregnancy and labor. Sometimes, anthracycline chemotherapy is used with radiation therapy to the upper abdomen or chest. This combination increases the risk of heart problems.
Pregnancy Possible After Chemotherapy For Breast Cancer Patients But Many No Longer Wish
Chemotherapy is known to have a negative impact on the reproductive potential of young breast cancer patients. Its effects on women’s post-treatment fertility, however, are still poorly understood. A stud to be presented at the ESMO 2018 Congress in Munich, has confirmed that natural pregnancies are possible after chemotherapy but that survivors’ desire to have children decreases greatly after treatment, calling into question the need for systematic recourse to fertility preservation measures.
Fertility preservation today is based on harvesting and freezing eggs or embryos after in vitro fertilisation. It is commonly offered to breast cancer patients under 40 during the first consultations following diagnosis. Globally, women in this age group represent less than 7% of breast cancer diagnoses, and survivors have a 70% lower chance of pregnancy compared with the general population. According to study author, Dr. Jerome Martin-Babau from Centre Armoricain de Radiotherapie, Imagerie Medicale et Oncologie in Plerin, France, “the main barrier to accessing fertility preservation measures for patients in France is that it requires lab facilities and medical expertise that are only available at larger hospitals. Women may have to travel further than their usual cancer centre for the procedure.”
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If I Get Pregnant Would My History Of Breast Cancer Put My Baby At Risk
Having a history of breast cancer does seem to be linked to an increased risk of some possible complications of pregnancy, including pre-term delivery, having a low-birth-weight baby, and the need for a cesarean section .
But research has not found that a womans past breast cancer has any direct effect on her baby. There is no increased rate of birth defects or other long-term health concerns in children born to women who have had breast cancer.
How Long Should You Wait To Get Pregnant
It is possible to get pregnant after breast cancer. Also, it is possible to have a complication-free pregnancy and a healthy baby. For the majority of women, breast cancer treatment is the main safety concern and not pregnancy.
As to the question of how long you should wait to get pregnant after completing your breast cancer treatment, there is no definite answer. There are some specialists who are of the opinion that waiting for 2 years is a good idea as the chances of recurrences are less likely. However, all cancer doctors are more or less on the same page when it comes to waiting a minimum of 2 months after discontinuing tamoxifen. This is because tamoxifen is hormone therapy and it might be harmful to the fetus if it is taken during pregnancy.
So, it is recommended that you talk to the best breast cancer doctor in Gurugram about whens the best time to get pregnant after the completion of your cancer treatment. The status of your health is the main consideration.
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Feeling Unwell Or Tired
Many women do not feel as healthy after chemo as they did before. There is often a residual feeling of body pain or achiness and a mild loss of physical functioning. These changes may be very subtle and happen slowly over time.
Fatigue is another common problem for women who have received chemo. This may last a few months up to several years. It can often be helped, so its important to let your doctor or nurse know about it. Exercise, naps, and conserving energy may be recommended. If you have sleep problems, they can be treated. Sometimes fatigue can be a sign of depression, which may be helped by counseling and/or medicines.
When Can I Try To Get Pregnant
There is no evidence that cancer treatments harm children conceived after treatment. But doctors usually advise you to use contraception for a while after treatment to let your body recover.
If you are thinking about getting pregnant, it is helpful to talk to your cancer doctor first. Depending on your age and the type of cancer and treatment you had, they may suggest trying sooner or waiting longer. They will also give you advice about any health checks you need before you try to get pregnant.
If you are taking hormonal therapy for breast cancer, it may be possible to stop treatment for some time so you can have a baby. Research is happening to help doctors find out more about the effects of doing this. Your cancer doctor can give you information about the risks and benefits of doing this.
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Can I Have A Baby After Having Breast Cancer
Some treatments for breast cancer might affect a womans fertility. For example, chemotherapy for breast cancer might damage the ovaries, which can sometimes cause immediate or delayed infertility. Still, many women are able to become pregnant after treatment. For more about how cancer treatment can affect fertility, see Female Fertility and Cancer.
Cancer And Family History
Some people worry about passing on cancer or cancer genes to their children. Cancer cannot be passed from a parent to a child. A small number of people have an inherited cancer gene that increases their risk of getting cancer. But this is rare, and most cancers are not caused by inherited cancer genes. Talk to your doctor if you are worried about the risk of cancer in your family.
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Other Concerns About Having A Child After Breast Cancer Treatment
Pregnancy after breast cancer treatment doesnt appear to lower survival, but some women may have other concerns about having a child.
Women who have a strong family history of breast cancer may worry about passing on an inherited gene mutation that increases risk.
Women with a high risk of breast cancer recurrence may worry about having a recurrence while pregnant, or they may worry, like women with metastatic breast cancer, about not living long enough to raise a child.
Having a child is a personal decision. However, if you have any concerns, it may be helpful to talk with your health care provider or a counselor and to seek support from your family, friends and other loved ones.
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Checking Your Fertility After Treatment
If you’re planning to become pregnant after breast cancer treatment, your treatment team will discuss your fertility with you.
After your treatment has finished, theres no totally reliable way of checking how it has affected your fertility.
To check if your ovaries are working, your specialist will ask about your periods, whether they have started again and whether you have any menopausal symptoms.
A series of blood tests to check the levels of a hormone called FSH can be taken. The results of these can show whether you have gone through the menopause.
Sometimes a blood test will also be taken to check the level of a hormone called AMH as this may give more accurate information about how your ovaries are working.
An ultrasound scan of the ovaries may also be helpful and is offered in some fertility centres.
You may not be able to find out straightaway after your treatment has finished if youre still fertile. For example, you may have to wait three to six months after your chemotherapy before your blood FSH levels can be tested.
If youre taking tamoxifen, it may be possible to test FSH levels. However, your treatment team may recommend that you stop taking tamoxifen for a few weeks before checking blood levels as there are concerns that the tamoxifen could make the test results less reliable.
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