Cancer and Fertility Issues

Sometimes a particular condition or illness might have several side affects not only in terms of physiological effects but also emotional, psychological or even social issues, depending on the location of the person, the type of society and so forth. Without going too much into side track, we will discuss about one important effect which could impact not only the person but also the family as a whole and that is related to fertility.

Fertility and Cancer

Fertility and Cancer

When a diagnosis of cancer is made, fertility may not be the first thing on the mind of the patient, his or her family and the treating doctors but the fact remains that it is an important issue. Cancer treatment is known to have major effects on fertility. It is important to gather information, understand the options in order to be able to make the right decisions.

Well yes, in this article we are going to discuss a very delicate issue at least for some societies. We are going to talk about fertility issues amongst cancer patients. There are multiple reasons that make the issue a delicate one to handle.

Some of the issues are –

  • Cancer treatment may effect fertility temporarily or even permanently. This may further have quality of life issues with patients and their families.
  • Future fertility in young patients or childless patients
  • There are societies where this issue may not be directly discussed. In such societies, even if the doctor, the patient or a caregiver may raise the issue it will be understated and may take the form of mere suggestions.
  • There can be financial, insurance issues involved, for treatment for preserving fertility may add to the costs
  • There could also be legal issues involved
  • There could be total lack of awareness that cancer treatment can cause fertility issues.

Fertility issues in men and women patients

The nature of damage to the reproductive organs is dependent on type, the medicines and the site of therapy and the age of the patient. Fertility issues amongst patients need to be discussed in case of both male and female patients. These issues will be dealt in detail in separate articles.

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Fertility issues before, during and after treatment

Fertility is an important concern at all the three stages – before, during and after treatment. While surgical treatment may result in removal of reproductive organs, chemotherapy and radiation can cause damage to reproductive organs. For patients who are young and want children, it is crucial to have information about the impact of treatment on fertility and the options that are available with them.

The treatment for cancer has an impact on healthy cells, organs unaffected by cancer and the hormonal system. Factors like age, the site affected, the stage of cancer, the medicines all play an important role in this. There are a number of treatment options that are available.

It may not be easy for a doctor to predict the exact impact of treatment on fertility and how soon or late it will be restored. Irrespective of the issues, the fact remains that it is an important issue and needs to be discussed openly between the patient, his or her family and the medical team.

NB: The author wishes to express her gratitude for Dr Mrs Paramjeet MD (Gynae) – Owner of Chowdhary Maternity Hospital, Pathankot Road, Pb.  for her useful tips for the post.

Note: CFC has also launched an initiative through a sister platform by the name betibeta where we will deal specifically with child and mother topics, since we feel proper child care is one of the most important aspects of human life and the basis for the development of any society, yet it is an area where a lot is lacking and even if we manage to fill a minute space in this void, it would be an honour and a pleasure for us. It is still under development though the basic framework is present.

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  • meetunayyar
  • A lawyer by profession, social worker and a fighter against cancer