Q. My cousin has been diagnosed with cancer, and she's engaged. She's worried that she won't be able to have children and seems quite depressed. Is there someone she could speak with to help her figure out what is possible?
Starting a family is an experience that many look forward to their whole lives. Unfortunately, a cancer diagnosis can threaten one’s chance of having this experience. The extent to which your fertility is compromised is based on many factors, including age, type of cancer and method of treatment. It is so important to talk to your healthcare team prior to and while in treatment to determine how your treatment plan may impact your fertility and the best ways of preserving it. There are many options available to preserve fertility, including freezing your eggs, embryos and ovarian tissue. If your doctors do not bring up fertility preservation, be sure to be your own advocate and address your concerns right away.
It can be incredibly stressful and difficult to think about how your treatment will affect your fertility, especially at such a young age. This might not only impact you, but your partner as well. Feelings of depression and anxiety are common while exploring your options. There are many support services available that can help navigate fertility perseveration and emotions this conversation might cause. Oncology social workers are able to offer support and guidance regarding this difficult topic. CancerCare offers free counseling services provided by their licensed oncology social workers.
Additional fertility resources include: