Young Adult Cancer Survivors and Fertility

5 years 1 week ago
Posted under Cancer Education, Cancer Guidance, Treatment Options

According to the American Cancer Society about 70,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer every year. [1]  Young adults diagnosed with cancer are often faced with issues unique to their age group. One of these issues is fertility.

Many cancer treatments can affect fertility in both women and men. Surgery which removes part or all of the reproductive organs can lead to infertility. Chemotherapy or radiation of the pelvic area can damage reproductive organs. For women, some forms of chemotherapy can trigger early menopause. [2]

For young adults, fertility can be a difficult and sensitive topic. The young adult age group is usually defined as people 15-39 years old. People in this age group can be in many different stages of life.  They may have young children, or they may know they want children in the future.  They may not have given it much thought at all. A cancer diagnosis forces young adults to think seriously about children at a time when the future seems so uncertain.

Young adults with a cancer diagnosis do have options.  Before treatment, women can elect to freeze their eggs and men to bank their sperm. Couples can choose to freeze embryos.  During treatment, certain precautions can be taken to protect reproductive organs. After treatment, young adults can choose to use donors or consider adoption. To read more about options based on age, cost, and success rate visit FertileHOPE by clicking here. Not all the effects of treatment are irreversible and depending on the extent and type of treatment, young adults may still be able to have children naturally after cancer. As with most cancer issues, every case is unique.

Although young adults with cancer do have options when it comes to fertility, awareness continues to be a problem. Since egg or embryo freezing and sperm banking take place before treatment begins, young adults must be proactive. It is often necessary for young adults to begin the conversation about fertility with their doctors on their own.

If you are a young adult with cancer, ask your doctor about your risk of infertility. Discuss your options with you doctor as soon as possible. If you want more information about fertility, or about how to talk to your doctor, contact our Cancer Supportive Services Professionals today by calling (615) 467-1936 x 101 or clicking here.


[1] http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/aya/types/quiz

[2] http://www.fertilehope.org/learn-more/cancer-and-fertility-info/fertilit...

Abby Henry