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Female cancer survivors less likely to achieve pregnancy than other women

by Family Center
Female cancer survivors less likely to achieve pregnancy than other women

Chiamaka Odogwu

Female cancer survivors less likely to achieve pregnancy than other women

Female cancer survivors less likely to achieve pregnancy than other women

Researchers from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) have disclosed that female cancer survivors are one-third less likely to achieve pregnancy than women in general population.

According to the latest study, which cross-linked 23,201 female cancer survivors from the Scottish Cancer Registry with

hospital discharge records, it was revealed that 6,627 pregnancies among the cancer survivors when nearly 11,000 would have been expected in a comparable matched control group from the general population.

Professor Anderson who presented the results of the study at the Annual Meeting of ESHRE in Geneva, women who had not been pregnant before their cancer diagnosis, 20.6% of the cancer survivors achieved the first pregnancy after diagnosis (2114 first pregnancies in 10,271 women), compared with 38.7% in the control group. Thus, women with cancer were about half as likely to achieve the first pregnancy after diagnosis was controlled

He further explained that diagnosis and treatment of female cancers are known to affect fertility for several reasons. In his words, “some chemotherapy regimens can cause damage to the ovary, and this can occur at any age; radiotherapy can also compromise female fertility through effects on the ovary, uterus and potentially those brain centres which control the reproductive axis.”

However, Professor Anderson stressed that the results of the study related only to subsequent pregnancy itself, and not to the incidence of infertility caused by cancer treatment. “Some women may have chosen not to have a pregnancy,” he explained. “Thus, while these results do show an expected reduction in the chance of pregnancy after chemotherapy and radiotherapy, having a pregnancy after cancer does involve a range of complex issues that we cannot address in this study.”

He added that the results of this study would allow clinicians to advise girls and women more accurately about their future chance of pregnancy. “They emphasise the need to consider the possible effects on fertility in girls and women with a new cancer diagnosis.

The implications of the diagnosis and planned treatment and, where appropriate, options for fertility preservation should be discussed with the patient and her family. Even for patients considered at low risk of infertility as a result of treatment, a fertility discussion is recommended before treatment begins.”


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