A breast cancer diagnosis is devastating. The diagnosis in a woman who hoped to have children can be dream-shattering. The fears are the possibility that chemotherapy can bring on early menopause or that the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy can bring about a recurrence of the disease.
But breast cancer doesn’t have to mean an end to the hope of having children one day.
Rana Kahl is a breast cancer survivor who worked with her doctor on a plan to modify the recommended treatment course in order to allow her to have children. Rather than taking the estrogen-blocking medication tamoxifen for the recommended five years, she took it for two years then went off of it to have a child before going back on the medication for another year and a half then having a second child. Now the mother of two young sons, Kahl gives the following advice to newly diagnosed women who hope to have children one day:
“Realize that you have choices, and make sure you understand those choices. Be informed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Do your research. Get the consults, and don’t work with anybody who doesn’t want to partner with you.”
The Susan G. Komen Foundation recommends talking to your healthcare provider, and if possible, a fertility specialist about the best timing and your options for pregnancy, including storing embryos before treatment begins and using a drug during therapy that may help protect the ovaries from damage.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with breast cancer, learn about the disease, the specialists who treat it, treatment options, what to expect, and more in the Vitals Breast Cancer Patient Guide.
Sources: ww5.komen.org and ivillage.com