Life After Cancer – Pregnancy After Cancer Treatment

Translator: MSc Pham Vo Phuong Thao
Proofreading: ThS.BS. Nguyen Van Tuy
If you are a human, having children can be a difficult decision for both men and women. Survivors and their spouses need to think about many things before starting the pregnancy journey.
Pregnancy after cancer treatment
Usually, pregnancy after cancer treatment is safe for both mother and baby. Pregnancy does not seem to increase the risk of cancer coming back. However, some women may be required to wait several years before trying to have children. How long depends on a number of factors:
Type of cancer and stage
Type of treatment
Year old
Some health care providers recommend that women should not become pregnant for the first 6 months after the end of chemotherapy

Because any damaged egg will leave the body within the first 6 months.


Life After Cancer - Pregnancy After Cancer Treatment

Other health care providers suggest waiting 2 to 5 years before trying to have a baby. This is because cancer may be more likely to return in the early years. And treating cancer during pregnancy is much more complicated.
Cancer treatments can affect pregnancy
Treatments can affect a future pregnancy in several ways:
Radiotherapy. May affect the supporting cells and blood supply of the uterus. It can also increase the likelihood of miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight and other problems.
Surgery on the cervix
Removing all or part of the cervix may cause miscarriage or premature birth.


Life After Cancer - Pregnancy After Cancer Treatment

This is because the cervix cannot support when the fetus is developing.
Valence. Anthracycline chemotherapy includes treatment with doxorubicin (available as a generic drug), daunorubicin (Cerubidine), epirubicin (Ellence) and idarubicin (Idamycin). These treatments can damage heart cells and cause heart failure. Therefore, the heart needs to work harder during pregnancy and labor. Sometimes anthracycline chemotherapy is used with radiation therapy to the upper abdomen or chest. This combination increases the risk of c.
Fatherhood after cancer treatment
Men can try to have children after cancer treatment ends.


Life After Cancer - Pregnancy After Cancer Treatment

There is no rule about how long men should wait after treatment, but health care providers usually recommend waiting for 2 to 5 years. Sperm may be damaged by chemotherapy or radiation. Those sperm should be replaced in 2 years. Even if a child is conceived right after the end of treatment, no studies show that it will be at high risk for health effects.
Other concerns about having a baby after cancer treatment
Children at risk of cancer
Many people with cancer worry that their children may also have cancer. Research shows that children of people with cancer and those who survive cancer are not at higher risk. But some cancers are passed from parent to child through genes. If you have one of these diseases, your baby may be at higher risk.


Life After Cancer - Pregnancy After Cancer Treatment

Talk to your health care provider or a genetic counselor about having a baby. They can help you understand cancer risk and genetics.
The risk of cancer recurrence
Studies show that pregnancy doesn't seem to cause cancer to recur. Some health care providers recommend breast cancer survivors should wait 2 years before trying to get pregnant. There is a link between some of the increased hormones during pregnancy and the growth of cells. But there is no scientific evidence to suggest an increased risk of cancer if a woman becomes pregnant within 2 years after completing treatment. Some studies even suggest that the risk of breast cancer recurrence is lower after the next pregnancy.
For some survivors, pregnancy may require stopping some medications.


Life After Cancer - Pregnancy After Cancer Treatment

But stopping drugs like tamoxifen (many brands) or imatinib (Gleevec) increases the risk of cancer coming back. People who are planning to have children need to talk about the level of risk they are willing to accept. Talk to your health care team and a reproductive specialist before trying to get pregnant after having cancer.
Faced with uncertainty
All cancer survivors face the risk that cancer can come back. The survivors and their spouses have to talk about the chance that the child will be brought up by only one parent. This decision is very difficult. Consider talking to a counselor for instructions.
Infertility
Some cancer treatments make it difficult or infertile for survivors.


Life After Cancer - Pregnancy After Cancer Treatment

Both men and women who want to have children should talk to their health care team about infertility before starting treatment. They should also discuss options to
Talk to your healthcare team
Having a baby is a big decision
No matter how you have been treated, you should talk to your health care team about the potential risks of pregnancy and childbirth. Your doctor may need to check some organs to make sure your pregnancy is safe. You may be referred to an obstetrician. This is a doctor.

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