A cancer diagnosis can feel devastating and terrifying with a typically quick treatment plan put into place. Cancer treatments can take a toll on the body and can leave some women unable to conceive a child later in life. Oncofertility, the rapid preservation of eggs, sperm, and ovarian tissue prior to cancer treatment, provides those with this diagnosis options for their future family.
Survival rates among young women have greatly improved in the recent years, but infertility remains a common complication resulting from treatment.
Types of cancer treatments that can cause infertility include:
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy targets specific mutations in your DNA to keep them from multiplying. In high doses, this can cause permanent damage to your DNA.
- Radiation therapy. Radiation to the pelvis, abdomen, spine or whole body can cause egg quality and quantity issues
- Surgery. In some cases, reproductive organs may be removed, which can affect fertility.
For women of reproductive age who wish to have children in the future, it is important they know there are options to preserve their fertility. Many patients see remission and go on to live healthy lives, yet the cancer treatments required may have a significant and negative impact on egg quality and quantity.
Watch this Facebook Live with Dr. Erica Louden and Dr. Ismail Mert, Gynecologic Oncologist from Advocate Health Care, as they talk through early detection strategies and treatment options for women diagnosed with breast, ovarian, or uterine cancers.