The shadow of cancer on fertility

By Kalwyna Rathod

If the treatment involves radiation therapy, the ovaries will be exposed to high-energy rays, which can damage them.

Cervical cancer can impact a woman’s chances of getting pregnant, because cancer treatments pose a risk to fertility. However, preserving fertility during cancer treatments is now a possibility, says Dr Indhumathi Joy Dinakar, Consultant and Fertility Expert, Nova IVF. “Infertility depends on many factors, such as the stage of the cancer, the time of diagnosis, the time remaining until the start of treatment and the treatment plan. There are a few options that may be helpful for women looking to preserve their fertility, before embarking on treatment, ”she adds.

Cancer of the cervix, mainly due to Human papillomavirus Where HPV (which women can now be vaccinated against), is a type of cancer that starts in cells in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus, and in the uterus. Cervical cancer can affect the deeper tissues of the cervix and can spread to other parts as well.


Fertility and cervical cancer

Some methods of treating cervical cancer can reduce your chances of getting pregnant. Dr Dinakar says, “If cervical cancer is not diagnosed early, there is a good chance that a radial hysterectomy will need to be performed, resulting in the removal of the uterus or uterus from the body. In this case, the patient will no longer be able to bear a child in the future. This is also true if the ovaries are removed, as the patient will not be able to produce eggs. ”

Also, if your treatment involves radiation therapy, your ovaries will be exposed to high-energy rays, which can damage them. “This will lead to infertility because some eggs will be destroyed, causing early menopause. In addition, women who undergo radiation therapy face a high risk of miscarriage or premature labor because the uterus is exposed to radiation, ”says Dr Dinakar. Additionally, some chemotherapy drugs can also impact the ovaries and uterus, leading to early menopause.

Preserving fertility

Before undergoing any treatment, the medical advice of the doctor / fertility specialist should be taken into account.

Conization

A conical biopsy is done at the very beginning of cancer when there is a small growth in the cervix. The doctor will remove the cone-shaped area of ​​the cervix or the cancerous tissue. This treatment does not completely cause infertility, although there is a small risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight. The patient should wait a period of at least 8 to 12 months before planning a pregnancy to discuss the risk of miscarriage involved.

Radical trachelectomy

As part of this procedure, the doctor will remove the signs of small tumors in the early stages of cervical cancer by removing most of the cervix, the upper part of the vagina, and the lymph nodes. The doctor will prick the inner part of the cervix. Dr Dinakar says: “There is a good chance of conceiving after this procedure. Due to the permanent point in the cervix, the baby can only be delivered by cesarean section. Pregnancy will be at high risk given the risks of miscarriage and premature delivery, requiring the supervision of a gynecologist.

For chemotherapy and hysterectomy

If the doctor recommends radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a hysterectomy, the patient may consider freezing her eggs. One should consult a fertility expert to understand the risks and benefits of egg freezing. Note that radiation therapy and chemotherapy can damage the uterus and the ovaries, therefore, the patient will not be able to carry a child in the womb. With egg freezing, one can conceive of in vitro fertilization (IVF) or consider finding a surrogate mother. You should consider becoming pregnant a few months after the end of cancer treatment.

Coping with cervical cancer and infertility

Cancer in itself is a huge problem to be treated. It destroys and damages a person both physically and emotionally. “The infertility associated with cervical cancer can be emotionally draining for both partners. But research and studies have given women with cervical cancer the ability to choose other methods of conception. Before giving up hope, see your doctor and a fertility specialist, who can guide you through your treatment and your chances of conceiving, ”explains Dr Dinakar.


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