No one wants to hear or think about cancer, but the bitter truth is that many women, even those of reproductive age, develop various types of cancers of the reproductive tract, and many of these would still like to have children. Therefore they need to know the options and treatments available to them to allow them to become mothers.
Millions of women of all ages develop gynecological cancers, and many of them are very young. For example, 12% of all cervical cancer cases are in women under the age of 45. Better nutrition and medical care have given women to delay having their first child until their late 30’s or early 40’s for career reasons. This phenomena combined with increased survival rates for younger women with cancer means that many women with cancer would like to preserve their fertility.
The conventional treatment for any type of gynecological cancer used to be complete removal of the reproductive organs, however, advances in medicine have given health care providers other more pleasant and encouraging options. In one such surgical procedure for cervical cancer, the cervix is removed, but the uterus is left intact. Since the baby grows in the uterus, this still preserves fertility for many younger women with cervical cancer, which is the leading reproductive cancer currently facing women. Many other surgeries are done laparasocopically and are minimally invasive, leaving the most important reproductive organs intact, thus preserving fertility for these women.
For women who have to undergo radiation and chemotherapy to kill cancer cells, another problem emerges concerning fertility since these therapies can also destroy or kill cells necessary for reproduction. For decades, these women faced dim prospects of having a biological baby, but now Assisted Reproductive Therapy (ART) through Invitro Fertilization (IVF), though very costly, has significantly improved their reproductive prospects. Some ARTs include egg, and embryo freezing, whose success rate (unfreezing the embryo or egg and growing a healthy, living baby) has increased dramatically in the recent past.
While no woman wants to hear the words, “you can’t have children because of your ovarian or cervical cancer,” for some, it used to be a necessary part of life. However, recent medical and technological advances have made motherhood possible for these women. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!