Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Breast Cancer & Fertility Preservation

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Breast Cancer & Fertility Preservation

In honor of October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, we would like to take this opportunity and talk about one of the side effects of cancer treatment that is often not discussed, which is infertility.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers) and it is the second leading cause of death from cancer in women.

The good news is that early detection can save lives. If cancer is detected early enough, breast cancer survival rates are one of the highest. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate of breast cancer is 88%. Read more about breast cancer screening

What does breast cancer have to do with fertility? 

Breast cancer treatment when offered in early stages is often very successful.  However, it involves exposure to chemotherapy and/or radiation, which damages your eggs and accelerates ovarian aging. In some cases, the treatment may cause early onset of menopause.

As the cancer treatment may cause infertility, it is important to consult a reproductive health specialist before starting the cancer treatment. The doctor should inform the patient about their chances of conceiving after their treatment and to discuss different fertility preservation options: 

Egg Freezing

Recent technological breakthroughs in egg freezing made egg freezing a viable option for women who are not ready to become pregnant and would like to make sure they can get pregnant later. You can use it for social or medical reasons. 

Egg freezing process:

  1. Hormone medications are given to stimulate your ovaries to produce eggs.
  2. Matured eggs are collected and are examined to make sure they are healthy.
  3. Eggs are frozen in a special procedure called Egg Vitrification. 
  4. When the woman is ready to become pregnant, the eggs can then be thawed, fertilized, and implanted in her uterus.

This option is fully funded under Ontario Fertility Funding program

Knowledge is power. Get the information and start the conversation before your cancer treatment. You may decide egg freezing is not right for you but remember that knowledge is power. Take advantage of the information and funding available to you. 

Contact us for more information on egg freezing.

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