Breast cancer can be one of the scariest events for any woman. Not only is there concern about the loss of life, but it can directly impact your body, as many women are forced to have one or both breasts removed to protect them from cancer spreading.
This can be traumatizing both physically and psychologically. Some women really battle emotionally with the effects of this disease, but the vast majority draw on their inner strength and thrive. It is truly a testament to their will to not let this disease beat them.
Can I Still Have a Baby?
While the vast majority of women do beat breast cancer, there can still be long-term effects related to their physical well-being. One of these is that many women are concerned about the ability to still have children after going through chemotherapy or hormone therapy.
These types of treatments can have an impact on the body as well. Some women, change their chemical makeup, even if it is short-term. The question is if these effects impact the ability to have children.
The short answer to that is that it may. Some women may be impacted by the treatments involved in defeating breast cancer and are unable to have children afterwards. That may not be what you want to hear, and it may be troubling that there is no definitive answer as to what can happen. However, the reality is that no one can say for sure whether you would be able to have children or not.
What Can You Do to Help Your Chances?
The effects of cancer and the treatments involved can have an impact that makes it challenging to determine precisely how your body will react. However, that does not mean there aren’t steps you can take to help improve your chances of having a baby in the future.
It starts with consulting your healthcare professional before opting to take any kind of treatment. Most hear the word “cancer” and want to get started on treatment right away. Honestly, this may not be the best option for you. This is a serious decision that requires you to take some time, ponder the possibilities, and consider what may be the long-term impact on your body.
This includes your ability to have children. Talk with your doctor or other healthcare professional to learn all the options available and what you might be able to do to help improve your ability to have children later on.
Consult a fertility specialist. This is a great way to find out the best information possible regarding your chances of having a child. The truth is that there are fertility specialists who have done extensive research on the impact of cancer treatments on childbirth. Talk with one of the specialists to see what they recommend you do.
The Two Things You Can Do
Regardless of the option you select, you should know that there are two things you can do to help promote your chances of having a child later. The first of these is that there are treatments and medications you can take that protect the ovaries during chemotherapy or hormone therapy treatments. If your ovaries are covered during these treatments, then you are much more likely to be able to go through the normal reproductive process once the cancer is defeated.
A second option that many women have chosen is to store eggs before the treatment begins. You can have eggs extracted from your ovaries, keeping them stored safely until you have defeated cancer and already started having children. At that point, the physician can work with your husband to fertilize the egg and either plant it back into your uterus or plant it in a surrogate to continue the child-bearing process.
Your Ability to Breast-Feed May Be Impacted
Besides having an impact on your fertility, you should be made aware that specific radiation therapies and other types of hormone therapies can directly impact your ability to breastfeed in the future. It simply depends on how your body reacts to the treatment.
However, if you are a person where cancer detected in just one breast, there is some excellent news for you. If you opt to have surgery to have cancer removed from that one breast or to have a mastectomy performed on that breast, you should know that the other breast will still be able to produce milk, enabling you to breastfeed.
It Does Not Impact the Health of the Child
This is a lot of information to dissect, and you may have some concerns, maybe even some fears, related to what you have read. However, there is one piece of information you should know. Something that should give you a great deal of peace of mind.
That is that there is no research that has revealed that the effects of chemotherapy or other hormone therapy treatments will have any long-term impact on the child born to a woman who has undergone these treatments as part of her cancer therapy. The babies are perfectly normal and healthy, with no residual effects related to the treatments at all.
This means that if you opt to have cancer treatment, having your eggs extracted and inserted later on or using ovary protecting treatments during the cancer treatment, and then getting pregnant, your child is not going to be impacted by that in any way.
The other concern that many women have is that if they have breast cancer, they are concerned that their daughter may have the disease later as well. The truth is that that is possible. Sometimes cancer can be genetic. This can mean that an inherited genetic mutation can lead to breast cancer for your daughter as well. It is important, to be honest with you about this. However, that should not discourage you from making this decision. Bringing a child into the world is our true blessing, and you should know that cancer is not going to take that blessing away from you.