Breast Cancer And Infertility

Malignant breast neoplasm or breast cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the tissues of the breast. Usually, it starts from the lobules that help in supplying milk to the ducts or the internal lining of milk ducts. Cancer is a condition where the body cells start to mutate and multiply at an abnormal rate. This leads to the formation of tumors in the body. Breast cancer causes the cells of the breast portion to multiply at a very rate leading to the formation of tumors that remain deep inside the breast. The reason behind the abnormal growth of cells leading to the stage of cancer is yet to be discovered.

It is very important to diagnose breast cancer as early as possible otherwise these cells keep on multiplying abruptly and spread to the whole body of the patient. This causes various side effects and ultimately causes the death of the patient. According to a recent study, approximately one-fourth of the patients with breast cancer are in their fertile stage that is in the age of eighteen to forty-five. As it calls for carefully selecting a treatment for cancer since cancer treatments adversely affect the fertility of a person, so does breast cancer treatment.

The adversity of the treatment may even lead to permanent infertility; however, it depends upon the treatment being given to the patient. The type of drugs administered during the course of the treatment as well as its amount used for the treatment affects female fertility drastically. Many women blindly go for treatment and after the completion of treatment; they realize that they are not able to conceive anymore. The healthcare provider should also forewarn and advise the patient about the after-effects of the treatments such as those given for cancer. There are certain risk factors of the breast cancer treatment, they are:

  • Age of patient
  • Type of drugs used for treatment
  • Amount of drugs used for treatment


 Some of the treatment mechanisms and their effects on fertility

  1. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy does not always affect female fertility. However, in cases where it does, it mainly affects the ovaries by inhibiting their proper functioning. This effect could last for a short while as well as for a long while. Chemotherapy causing temporary infertility mainly leads to irregular menstrual cycles or lack of it. In such cases, a regular menstrual cycle follows after the treatment ends. Long-term infertility because of chemotherapy is typically linked with some drugs or higher dosages of those drugs. Apart from this age is another important factor that leads to infertility among women.
  2. Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy is the best therapy that should be opted for if you wish to conceive in the future. However it is only the case when you need to take radiation upon the breast portion In the case where the radiation is to be provided over the pelvic region, then your uterus, ovaries, eggs are at great risk. However, the eggs can be removed from the body and preserved aside, since women bear only a limited number of eggs in a lifetime.
  3. Hormone Therapy: After the completion of primary treatment, the patient is asked to go for certain medications to lower the level of hormones in the body. Aromatase inhibitors or selective estrogen receptor modulators are some of such medications used to avert recurrence. It is advised not to get pregnant during the course of treatment; however, you can go for it after completion of the treatment.

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