"Many types of chemotherapy decrease the number of eggs a woman has. You're going to ovulate for fewer years and go through menopause earlier."
— Elizabeth Ginsburg, MD
Fertility Issues for Women after Cancer
Some types of cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery, may cause temporary or permanent infertility. While not all patients are at risk, be sure to speak with your doctor if infertility is a concern for you.
What You Can Do
Before you begin cancer treatment, talk with your doctor about whether you should be concerned about infertility. You can use these questions to guide your conversation:
- Will my cancer treatment affect my fertility, either temporarily or permanently?
- What are my options to preserve my fertility before, during, or after my cancer treatment?
- What is the best recommended option for me, given my cancer type and treatment?
- When might it be safe for me to start a family after my cancer treatment?
- Where can I learn more?
Get information. Some cancer treatments can cause changes in women's bodies and reduce the amount of hormones the body makes. These changes can cause your periods to stop, as well as cause other symptoms of menopause.
Talk with us. You may also want to consider Dana-Farber's Sexual Health Program, whose staff includes a fertility expert specializing in fertility and reproductive health during and after cancer treatment.