Certain breast cancer treatments can affect your fertility, so if you want to become pregnant after treatment, ask your doctor for a referral to a fertility specialist before you start cancer treatment.
Hormonal therapies, for example, cause your periods to stop and prevent your ovaries from producing eggs. Your fertility may return after the end of hormonal treatment, but some women may have difficulty conceiving.
Type of chemotherapy, dose and stage of your cancer can impact your ability to conceive. Your age may also affect your fertility. Women under 30 may have a better chance of their periods returning after treatment and therefore, may have a better chance of conceiving. Women over 40 have a higher chance of going into menopause after treatment.
To help protect a women’s eggs during chemotherapy, researchers are looking at using drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs (GnRHa). These suppress the ovaries from releasing eggs.
Targeted therapies may affect fertility, but because they are relatively new, little research has been done on them.
Radiation treatment to your breast has no effect on fertility.
If are looking to become pregnant after your treatment, having a discussion with your health care team early on is recommended.
Fertile Future has more information and resources about fertility preservation options as well as funding options to help support these treatments.
Breast cancer has never been known to spread to an unborn child. If you discover you have breast cancer while you are pregnant you may be able to receive some treatments without harming the fetus. Your doctor will be able to inform you about what treatments are safe and appropriate for your type of breast cancer.
Both pregnancy and breast cancer provoke a wide range of emotions for which you deserve support. Talk about your feelings with friends and family, your medical team, or a counsellor, and ask those around you for practical support.