It is undeniable that cervical cancer and the treatment of cancer itself can affect your ability to get pregnant in a number of cases. But not always. This article can help you find out how and what situations cancer treatment can affect your fertility.
How cancer treatment affects a woman's ability to get pregnant
When you undergo cervical cancer treatment, the cancer treatment can destroy your organs related to reproduction, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix. The treatment can also damage the organs involved in the production of hormones, including the ovaries. The ovary is considered an important organ because it is a place to store your eggs. However, after treatment of cervical cancer, the ovaries experience a lot of damage. This causes reduced ovarian absorption, which involves the absence of healthy eggs and causes infertility and early menopause. In fact, your body cannot regenerate these eggs, which means you cannot cure the damage. That's why you might not be able to get pregnant after treatment for cervical cancer.
What cancer treatments affect fertility?
Most drugs that treat cervical cancer are reported about the risk of damaging eggs and can affect fertility in a number of cases. However, how much of the drug can affect your ability to get pregnant is also related to your age, the type of medication you use and the dose of the drug. Because of these factors, sometimes doctors cannot predict whether you might be fertile after chemotherapy. All you have to do is consult your doctor about the medicines you will use and how they affect your fertility afterwards. You can do your own research to find out which drugs can put you at the highest risk for egg damage, such as busulfan, carboplatin, carmustine, cisplatin ... while other drugs can reduce your ability to conceive including 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), bleomycin, cytarabine, dactinomycin.
In fact, radiation treatment with the use of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells can cause damage to the ovary. How much radiation is absorbed when you use it for the abdomen (stomach) or pelvis is responsible if you become infertile. If you have to choose high doses for your disease condition, some or all of the eggs in the ovary can be destroyed and you may experience infertility or early menopause.
If you receive radiation for a location that is not an ovary, your ovaries will still be damaged by absorbing the light bouncing inside your body. Especially, radiation directed to the uterus can cause scar tissue, which limits flexibility and blood flow to the uterus. This problem can limit the growth and expansion of the uterus during pregnancy. This means you are at high risk for miscarriage, babies with low birth weight, and preterm birth.
If hysterectomy is needed to destroy cancer cells from the body, you have to face the fact that you can no longer have a baby. Hysterectomy is an operation to remove the uterus either through the vagina or through an incision in the abdomen. A slashed uterus means that your ovary can be removed at the same time. Without an ovary, you will lose the ability to get pregnant.
However, if you feel in the early stages of ovarian or cervical cancer, you can ask your doctor to try to save one ovary. If possible, you can have the opportunity to retain eggs, which might still allow you to become pregnant. If you have small cervical cancer, your chosen surgery might be tracelectomy, the procedure for removing the cervix but leaving the uterus intact so you can have a pregnancy.
Understanding the effects of cervical cancer on your body and your ability to get pregnant can help you prepare and for your dreams of having a baby. Don't hesitate to consult a doctor about your feelings, how treatment can test your fertility and your choice to maintain fertility.