Cancer and Medical Patients

Young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer or lymphoma cancer may fear losing their ability to one day have children. Although chemotherapy and radiation can be life saving, they may also cause difficulties later when attempting pregnancy.

Young women can freeze their eggs to avoid damage to their eggs before starting anti-cancer treatments.

How Can Breast Cancer Treatments Affect My Fertility?

Many women are young and have not started their families yet when they receive their breast cancer diagnoses. Understandably, young women have described their hope and tendency to fight harder to beat cancer knowing that their fertility preservation with egg freezing will “protect” their eggs to ensure a greater chance of having a baby later.

It is a fact of life that women are born with a very limited supply of eggs and that egg count and egg quality diminishes drastically with age. Given the already natural process of egg decline, breast cancer treatments can further compromise their ability to have children by decreasing their egg supply with early menopause.

Undergoing breast cancer therapy treatments can negatively affect a woman’s future ability to have children. The different types and doses of certain chemotherapy drugs have been known to dramatically and immediately reduce the egg supply in women.

Chemotherapy can hasten premature menopause in some young women. This can happen instantly or a few years after a woman is finished with treatment. Some breast cancer therapy drugs, such as Tamoxifen, must be taken for up to 5 years. If a woman is already in her thirties, she is especially more vulnerable to time as her window to achieve pregnancy is cut short.

Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer for women in the United States (Skin cancer being #1). About 1 in 8 women (12%) in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime.

Get more statistics on breast cancer here.

Breast Cancer Myth vs. Reality

Please make sure to speak with your oncologist if you are considering having children after completing your cancer treatments. It is important to understand your fertility risks associated with your specific anti-cancer treatment plan.

For most young women, it is definitely worthwhile to consult with a fertility and egg freezing specialist, such as Dr. David Diaz, before starting cancer therapy. We work with many associations to help you with the cost of egg freezing.

Cancer Survivors