What It Is
A class of diseases in which a group of cells displays uncontrolled growth and divides beyond the normal limits.
Who Gets It
Men and women, depending on cancer type.
Varies by type of cancer.
How It's Diagnosed/Detected
Varies by type of cancer.
How It Affects Fertility (And Pregnancy)
In men: Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 45. While testicular cancer doesn’t lead to infertility, the treatment for it (surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy) can, causing the man to become permanently sterile. Treatments for some cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, and tumors often cause only temporary sterility. The best way to ensure that a man who is being treated for testicular cancer can preserve sperm is to freeze as many sperm samples as possible before treatment begins.
In women: Women who have been treated for cancer with surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy may experience early menopause, which will prevent pregnancy. But advances in the freezing of eggs and ovarian tissue are now making it possible for women to get pregnant after the cancer treatment is over.
Freezing sperm, eggs, embryos, or ovarian tissue are all ways for cancer patients to become pregnant in the future. Advance planning is key.
Both men and women should discuss future family plans with their cancer specialist while discussing treatment options and formulating a treatment plan. Some cancer treatments are more fertility-sparing than others. And procedures to preserve sperm, egg, or ovarian tissue must be done before treatment starts.
Most oncologists recommend waiting two to five years after the completion of cancer treatments before trying to become pregnant.
Better and better as both cancer treatments and fertility-preservation techniques improve.
- A few months after my first child was born, I wanted to be pregnant again—as soon as possible. I wanted my children to be close in age, the closer...
- You might have spent most of your life (and an excruciatingly embarrassing high school health class) learning how to avoid getting pregnant, but...
- There’s no need to feel deprived when you’re trying to get pregnant. Quite the opposite. Check out these foods that taste great and can help keep...
- By now you’ve probably heard of Clomid, the most commonly-used fertility drug in the United States. But do you really know how it works and what the possible side effects can be? If fertility drugs are your next step in the attempt to get pregnant, then here is a quick rundown of the seven medications your doctor is most likely to prescribe.