DO BLOOD CANCER TREATMENTS AFFECT FERTILITY?
Blood cancer is one of the most devastating diseases that have affected millions of people across the world. This disease occurs in the bone marrow and significantly affects the body’s immune system. The causes of blood cancer are still unknown. However, there are some risk factors associated with blood cancer including a weak immune system, ageing, and family history.
Treating this disease is in itself a tough task. Only well-renowned hospitals who have highly qualified oncologists and latest treatment techniques can offer successful treatment. We at Max Healthcare, offer a holistic and integrated oncological care by consolidating views of experts. Not only this, but we are also equipped with pioneering technology for every type of blood cancer.
However, it is essential to know that the first step of the treatment begins by identifying the signs of blood cancer and visiting a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. During the diagnosis, our doctors try to find out the reason for blood cancer. After a complete evaluation of blood cancer symptoms and causes, suitable treatment options are recommended.
Now, there are various questions related to blood cancer treatment that bother patients and their family, and they become susceptible. One such question is if blood cancer treatment affects fertility or not?
As per doctors, fertility problems are some of the side-effects of cancer therapies like chemotherapy and radiation therapy. However, it may not occur in all the cases as it cannot be predicted or even controlled. The only way to ensure that infertility issues do not harm the patient is to be fully aware and prepare the patient for its proper management.
Below is everything that one needs to know to get about the connection between blood cancer treatment and fertility.
How Blood Cancer Treatment Affects Fertility?
As per the doctors, infertility issues are not caused by blood cancer but its treatment. However, Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, is believed to lower the sperm count. Apart from that, cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy can have an impact on fertility. Here is how:
The drugs used during chemotherapy can impact the fertility of the patient, irrespective of their gender. For instance, in men, chemotherapy can diminish the sperm count in semen (azoospermia). In women, it can lead to early menopause or ovarian failure. The magnitude of the impact depends on the group of medications that are prescribed during the therapy. In the case where women start showing the symptoms of early menopause, the doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to reduce the symptoms.
As the therapy uses high beam radiation, it can affect the patient’s fertility. The small doses of radiotherapy or radiation therapy cause more damage to the reproductive organs than a high dose. In men, the radiation can affect testes and reduce the sperm count. It can also lead to lower testosterone levels. In women, radiotherapy can affect fertility by restricting ovaries from producing eggs and also harm the womb, making it unable to support a pregnancy.
What to Do?
Patients who are concerned about their fertility have various options to cope with their infertility. Some of these include:
- Sperm banking or freezing sperm for later use
- Freezing eggs
- Using donor eggs and sperm
Though these options are recommended by the doctors, their acceptance remains a personal choice of the patients. For more information on these alternatives and other side effects of blood cancer treatment, patients can consult our oncologists and make the right choice. Though the primary aim of cancer treatment is to save the patient, we at Max Healthcare, also ensure that complications like infertility are carefully avoided when possible.