- Livestrong Female Infertility web page (http://www.livestrong.org/Get-Help/Learn-About-Cancer/Cancer-Support-Topics/Physical-Effects-of-Cancer/Female-Infertility).
- Oncofertility Consortium http://myoncofertility.org/
- Women's Cancer Network http://www.wcn.org/articles/quality_of_life/fertility/overview/
- ASCO recommendations http://jop.ascopubs.org/content/2/3/143.full
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Fertility Issues Impact Our Lives
The other day I ran across the post Sometimes you can't "save the ta-tas" on Salon.com. The subject was the decision by reality star Guiliana Rancic's to treat her breast cancer and preserve her fertility by having a double mastectomy instead of further lumpectomies, radiation and anti-estrogen therapy . Mary Elizabeth Williams, author and cancer survivor, states " And regardless of our relationship statuses or the size of your family, there’s a whole different set of unexpected feelings to deal with when you’re facing cancer, a profound change in your body and a possible screeching halt to your fertile years." .
How true. It is difficult to visibly see your body change. Learning that preserving fertility might not be possible is heartbreaking.
Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer do not deal with loosing a visible body part. Instead, we loose multiple internal organs - our uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and many times our cervix. And let's not forget the removal of our omentum ( the fatty layer that covers the organs of the abdomen) during the debulking part of our surgery .
We are not all women in our 60's and 70's when we are diagnosed. Many of us are women who are diagnosed well in advance of menopause. Many of us are diagnosed at later stages which makes it almost impossible to preserve our fertility. We have surgery and are thrown into instant menopause. The joy of hot flashes with the drop in estrogen while facing the loss of our hair from chemotherapy. Even though I had two children, I mourned the loss of my fertility. I am saddened by the loss of fertility for young ovarian cancer survivors like my friend's niece , Nicole. So we are dealing with the physical effects of menopause while dealing with the emotional side of being unable to have children.
Here are a few resources that provide cancer patients with information about fertility:
Every Day is a Blessing!