After receiving a breast cancer diagnosis, there are a thousand things going through your mind. The order of thoughts may differ from person to person, but if you are a young woman, one thing likely at the forefront is “Will I still be able to have children?” This is a normal concern, especially considering the harsh effects of chemotherapy and long-term exposure to radiation. Some therapies are more damaging than others, so it is important to consult your physician prior to beginning your treatment, ask questions and stay informed throughout the entire process.
So if you see pregnancy in your future, choose a treatment plan that can accommodate you. There are low-risk chemo drugs shown to do little damage to your reproductive system. If your doctor suggests that these drugs are not right for you, however, it does not mean your dreams of being a parent or having more children are doomed. You still have several options, including freezing your eggs, embryos, or pieces of your ovary. You can also consider undergoing infertility treatment after cancer, adopting, or using a donated egg or embryo. If you are comfortable, finding a surrogate may be another viable option for you.
Being young and newly diagnosed with breast cancer can be a frightening thing. Rest assured that your doctors and cancer treatment team will do their best to meet all your needs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Stay informed and be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations. For more information about fertility after breast cancer diagnosis, you can visit our surviveAL resource page, American Cancer Society-How Cancer Treatments Can Affect Fertility in Women, Livestrong Fertility Services and many others.