During Breast Cancer Treatments

How Chemotherapy May Affect Fertility

During treatment you may experience a range of side effects such as hair loss, tiredness, sleeplessness, appetite changes, weight gain, nausea and vomiting, and bone marrow depression. These are normal and expected side effects, which can be controlled with medication and other support.

You may also worry about how chemotherapy will change your ability to get pregnant or have early menopausal symptoms. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

The effect on your ovaries depends on your age and the type and number of chemotherapy treatment cycles. The larger the cyclophosphamide dose and the older you are, the less likely it will be that you’ll be able to get pregnant once you complete treatment.

Each cycle of chemotherapy has an effect on your ovaries and the effect is bigger over time as you get more doses.

Some women don’t stop having periods during chemotherapy, some stop having periods within the first two or three cycles, while others stop shortly after treatment ends.

Early menopause can happen due to treatment. Symptoms include hot flashes, sleeplessness, changes in going to the bathroom, bone loss and heart disease. If you have any of these problems, it’s important to let your doctor or health care team know.

Once you start treatment, many fertility-sparing procedures become unavailable, however, you can ask to see a reproductive endocrinologist (fertility specialist) to see what options might still exist for you.

*It is important to note that just because you have started treatment that may affect fertility or you are no longer experiencing a period, you are not necessarily infertile. Make sure you talk to your doctor about your options for contraception if you are not wanting to get pregnant at this time.

Useful Websites: Fertility Issues During Treatment

Breastcancer.org/Fertility and Pregnancy Issues During and After Breast Cancer:

Louisiana's Young Breast Cancer Survivor Network

Young women with breast cancer face unique issues. And in the South, there are more young women overall facing breast cancer. In Louisiana, young African-American women are significantly more likely to suffer from breast cancer.

That is why SurviveDAT is here. Part of the Gulf States Young Breast Cancer Survivor Network, SurviveDAT's mission is to help improve the quality of life for young breast cancer survivors, as well as their family and friends, by providing continuing resources and support.

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