More than 300,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. At the time of this life-changing diagnosis, a multitude of thoughts surrounding your current and future life may race through your mind. For many women, future plans to build a family may become even more of a priority than before. We want you to know that there is hope and several fertility preservation options for future family building for women who are diagnosed with breast cancer.
In addition to the anxiety, stress, and emotions associated with a new cancer diagnosis, many women worry that cancer treatments will affect their chances of being able to have children. Common breast cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, can significantly reduce fertility and may induce the onset of early menopause. Depending on the type of chemotherapy and the duration and dosage of treatment, the chances of getting pregnant in the future may be eliminated in some circumstances.
For many women diagnosed with early stage, non-invasive breast cancer during their childbearing years, the chances of survival following treatment are very promising. As a result, the dream of raising a family down the road is a very real possibility and may be a very real desire for many women with breast cancer. Fortunately, most oncologists will counsel reproductive-aged women to meet with a fertility specialist to discuss options for fertility preservation before starting cancer treatment.
At CCRM, we understand that timing is critical for fertility preservation. Our physicians are able to expedite the process of freezing eggs or embryos (fertilized eggs) so that cancer treatment is not delayed. State-of-the-art flash freezing techniques at CCRM will ensure the very best pregnancy success rates for a patient once they return for fertility care after cancer treatment is completed.
There are many success stories at CCRM of patients who froze their eggs or embryos, and came back to successfully start their families. Fertility preservation can provide peace of mind and hope in the midst of a devastating cancer diagnosis and an uncertain future cancer treatment course. Many fertility preservation treatments allow patients to focus on getting well and looking ahead to their life after cancer.
While not everyone who is diagnosed with breast cancer knows if they will want children, a discussion of fertility preservation with a CCRM fertility expert will allow for a woman to make an educated and informed decision about family building options. Our physicians are always available to you and your oncology team, and would be honored to meet with you to discuss our oncofertility services.
Dr. Aaron Styer is the Co-Founder and Co-Medical Director of CCRM Boston