Suffering from cancer is one of the toughest ordeals for any person; however to be unable to rear a child after cancer can be even tougher for a woman. Women who have suffered from cancer are at a juncture of life where although they have survived their disease, they are unable to reproduce. The thoughts of not being able to be a parent are harrowing; however the right knowledge will help you overcome the problem. There exist many misconceptions surrounding the issue, which will be discussed further in the article.
After you have finished your cancer treatment, most oncologists suggest waiting 2 to 4 years before planning parenthood. This is because majority of recurrence occurs within this time frame; therefore it is to ensure that you are healthy enough to support yourself as well as the growing fetus. However, every person’s medical situation is different, thus your healthcare provider will be able to guide you properly.
As a woman, treatment via chemotherapy and radiation, may cause your eggs to be genetically damaged, it is thus advisable to wait until those eggs leave your body and are replaced by better ones.
There is a misconception that women who reach their menopause cannot conceive; in reality even if you have hit your menopause, you have the ability to get pregnant. You may not be able to get pregnant the natural way, but you can use the frozen eggs, frozen tissues or embryos. While in menopause, you may require hormonal injections in order to prepare your body for the pregnancy. If your uterus is healthy, you should not face any difficulties.
There is an increased risk of miscarriage in those women who have received radiation to their pelvic region. Miscarriage, low birth weight and preterm delivery are some of the common problems faced by women who have received radiation to their uterus. A specialist will evaluate your uterus and guide you regarding which is the right time to conceive.
Complications are also common if you have had fertility sparing gynecological surgeries. For example, those who have had a radical trachelectomy, continuous monitoring is required during the course of pregnancy and the delivery too is usually a cesarean-section birth. Also, if your cervix was removed, you have higher chances of miscarriage and preterm delivery. You must be in consultation with your oncologist in order to assess the risks. You can also consult a high risk obstetrician before trying to get pregnant.
Radiation and chemotherapy can cure you of cancer, but also cause long-term health risks. Some of these risks may cause damage to your heart or lungs which in turn make it difficult to carry a pregnancy. It is therefore important that you consult your oncologist for the long-term risks associated with your treatment plan. For example, many patients during pregnancy are recommended regular echocardiograms in order to ensure that their heart functions normally during the pregnancy term.
Children at Risk
Most cancer survivors worry whether their children too will be susceptible to cancer. But it is an unwarranted worry as research shows that a parent with cancer does not cause the child to be susceptible. The child is at the same risk as that of the general population. However the risk may increase if the cancer is genetically linked; but a small percentage of cancer are known to be genetically linked. Thus the risks are not higher, as is the preconceived notion amongst cancer survivors.
As a woman cancer survivor, you will have to assess the various risks especially that of recurrence and decide as there are chances that you may not be around after your child is bought into the world. Although it may be highly emotional, it is necessary to weigh all the options and address the problems before conceiving a child as the child’s future depends upon your present decisions.Get relevant information to help patients combat the deadly disease.