Being diagnosed with breast cancer can be a shocking and absolutely devastating experience. Especially for someone that dreams of still becoming a parent by own means.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer estimated that approximately 19.3 million new cases will be diagnosed worldwide in 2020. However, we know that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the number of new diagnoses, so the actual number of cancers diagnosed in 2020 is likely to be lower.
Cancer has become a disease that appears more and more frequently, with over 55,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK alone.
Article reviewed by the IVF-Life clinic medical team.
Diagnosis: Cancer – What now?
When receiving a cancer diagnosis, it is very important to be able to count on support from friends and family to be able to cope both psychologically and physically. Don’t suffer in silence but open up to closest relatives about your illness.
It is natural for your emotions and thoughts to go crazy at first: how will my body react to the treatment, how will I feel, how long will it last?
At IVF-Life, we have encountered women who were in the process of starting a family or had just started a fertility treatment when they received the devastating diagnosis and they all told us about the fear of not being able to have children once cancer has been cured.
In today’s day and age, early diagnosis and good treatment methods allow a high rate of patients to successfully battle cancer. However, it is true that treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy have a direct influence on future reproductive possibilities, as they directly affect the patient’s oocyte production.
Consulting all doubts about the effects a cancer treatment may have on one’s fertility is very important. Not all treatments will affect a patient’s fertility the same way, as not all patients will react in the same way to a treatment.
Information: Our medical experts at IVF-Life are gladly available to resolve all your doubts and help you assess all the possible consequences and try to minimise them as much as possible.
Luckily, thanks to advances made in medicine and curative treatments, it’s possible to diagnose cancer in very early stages and the hopes of battling the disease are steadily increasing.
However, research into the causes of cancer is still insufficient. Many factors can have an effect on why this disease occurs. Either genetic antecedents, bad habits or even prolonged exposure to pollution.
Maintaining good health, taking care of your body and following certain habits is key to preventing all kinds of diseases, including cancer.
Here are some tips that will help you to maintain the healthiest lifestyle possible:
- Eliminate tobacco from your life. As we very well know, tobacco consumption can lead to developing cancer. Even passive smokers are at risk as they are inhaling the carcinogenic substances contained in cigarettes.
- Maintaining a good diet is essential. It has been proven that there is a direct link between obesity and an increased chance of suffering from cancer. Eat a diet rich in grains, pulses, vegetables and fruit. Try to cut down on foods high in calories, sugar and fat, as well as sugary drinks.
- Exercise regularly. Going for a walk three times a week for an hour, or 30 minutes every day. This is one of the best ways to prevent many types of illnesses.
- Reduce alcohol consumption. As alcohol has been linked to provoking cancer, it is recommended that its consumption should always be moderate, e.g. a glass of wine or beer with a meal, or occasional consumption at weekends or on public holidays.
- Early diagnosis of cancer. It is very important to visit your gynaecologist on a regular basis to undergo screenings. This way an early diagnosis of any type of irregularity is possible and chances of successful cancer treatment will be a lot higher.
Fertility preservation: A great option for cancer patients
As much as we may take care of our health, it is not always possible to prevent cancer. As we have mentioned beforehand, a cancer diagnosis can be devastating, especially for women that have not yet fulfilled their dream of becoming a parent.
For this reason, we believe that cancer treatments should always be accompanied by the option of fertility preservation, to ensure that everyone has the ability to start or extend their family if they wish to.
Preserving your oocytes or semen is an effective way to ensure that your reproductive options prevail even after your recovery.
Currently, the most successful technique to preserve the fertility of a woman is oocyte vitrification.
As you may have read in other blogs about fertility preservation, during the vitrification technique eggs are extracted from the fallopian tubes, frozen and stored in best conditions to preserve them for future use.
This way, when a patient has to undergo cancer treatment, the vitrification of her eggs allows, provided it is performed prior to the start of treatment, to preserve her fertility and her future chances of seeking pregnancy.
Many of our patients have commented that knowing that they will have the possibility to fulfil their dream of becoming pregnant once they have overcome cancer, reassured them and helped them battle this disease with more willpower and strength.
If you would like to know more about fertility preservation for IVF after chemotherapy, feel free to browse our website.
Would you like to speak to one of our fertility specialists and personally comment on your situation during an initial appointment? Our team of experts will be more than happy to offer you advice and support in this difficult time.
You can make an appointment with our specialists here.