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Let's Discuss...Oncofertility
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Cancer and its treatments can damage the organs or glands in your body's sexual reproductive system. This damage sometimes affects your fertility, which is your ability to get or stay pregnant or to get someone pregnant and have a child. Oncofertility is a subfield at the intersection of oncology and reproductive medicine.

Did you know that cancer and/or cancer treatment(s) can affect fertility? How did you find this out?

What is your experience with finding oncofertility resources that are applicable to you?

What kind of information are you looking for in oncofertility resources?

11 Replies
J1f2s3
42 Posts

@Lacey_Moderator

no I wasn’t informed and like to discuss these findings

MaryAnne
15 Posts

I am 56 years old. My first cancer diagnosis was when I was 51. Granulosa cell tumor ovarian cancer. Surgical treatment required total hysterectomy including cervix and a 6 in bowel resection. Regardless, impact on fertility was not a concern for me.

KLB
16 Posts

@Lacey_Moderator

I was given a printout of side effects of the chemo I am on (folfox and now folfiri). One of them was that it could cause menopause. I have only had one period in the last several months. Luckily I already have two kids who are teenagers so I wasn't planning on trying for any more.

Lady8i8
9 Posts

I was never told. In fact at the onset they wanted to take everything out “just in case." I was just a week shy of my 25th birthday and having kids was my every dream. I didn't want to. They had case conferences and meetings about my treatment and then mostly talked at me but didn't really explain a lot.

I remember bringing my Dad in with me to an appointment because they were making me feel so uncomfortable and were pushing so hard to take everything. My Dad hated hospitals but went with me. I'll never forget him stopping the doctor in mid-lecture and saying it's HER body, and if she says no you're not having it. I never loved him more than in that moment. LOL

As it turned out, PCOS and Ovarian cancer ruined all my plans. A cyst on my other ovary (benign) had to be removed. Another later grew on the remaining ovary bit. In hindsight I probably should have let them take it out, but to hang on was to have hope to let it all go so early seemed wrong somehow.

Someone up there was looking out for me though, just a few years later I became a full-time stepmom to 3 wonderful children who have now made us grandparents. Hope is out there. It just doesn't always look like what we think it will.

WSB
9 Posts

@Lacey_Moderator

At my first big 3 hour appointment at TBCC, they did explain that and gave me an opportunity to talk about if we wanted to have any more children. We were very fortunate to have been done having children. I appreciate that conversation as my ovaries shut down after the second of my 25 radiation treatments.

Julia92
17 Posts

@Lacey_Moderator I was very recently diagnosed with breast cancer - 5 months before our wedding, 5 months before we were going to start trying to have a baby. Needless to say I immediately went into research mode on how cancer treatments can affect fertility. There are resources out there, but it's a very daunting task to go from counting down the days till we ‘pull the goalie’ to researching how much it costs to freeze eggs, how fast it can be done, what the chances are of getting pregnant naturally post hormone or chemo therapy…

If there is any information out there that you know of I'd love for you to share! I have looked at Fertile Future and their resources mainly.

I'm very eager to get my surgery soon so they can tell me what options we're looking at specifically for treatment and we know where we stand fertility wise. I know there is never a good time for cancer, but man this feels like the worst right about now.

Thanks for starting the conversation!

Julia

Otterjam
99 Posts

I was not told anything and I had no options presented. I experienced the heartache mid way through and after treatment. Time had suddenly run out and I grieve the children I will never have. I really would have loved a supportive discussion beforehand and to learn what some options were, if any. I just wasn’t prepared to deal with everything all at once I guess. I try not to feel sorry for myself when I should feel ‘lucky’ for all I currently have. I am constantly told that things could have been a lot worse and that I am doing so great. I am trying to comply.

Otterjam
99 Posts

@Lacey_Moderator I think having as much information up front prior to treatment is important and would even suggest a reproductive professional be available as part of the wrap-around cancer team. Great conversation for sure.

@Otterjam - Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this- it is very helpful

@Julia92 - Thanks for taking the time to share.

For help finding info and resources please call our Cancer Information Helpline at 1-888-939-3333.

I'd also like to connect you with @WarriorWoman who has experience going through the process.

The Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian branch of the Cancer Patient Education Network are doing a survey on the fertility and supportive care information needs of people living with cancer. The survey takes 20 to 30 minutes to complete and is completely confidential. Your feedback will help inform suitable patient education materials.

Survey link: https://limesurvey.pmcancereducation.ca/index.php/762411?lang=en

@Otterjam @Julia92 @WSB @Lady8i8 @KLB @MaryAnne @J1f2s3

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