News You Can Use A monthly newsletter from the Cancer Learning Center • March 2011 - Issue 68 Fertility and Cancer
For many people, becoming a parent is a major life goal. Cancer may threaten or delay that choice. Te good news is that most cancer survivors can still choose parenthood after they complete treatment.
How can cancer affect fertility?
Fertility is the ability to produce children. Cancer and its treatment can cause infertility by interfering with necessary physical functions. Sometimes cancer treatment requires surgical removal of key reproductive system parts. Other cancer treatments such as radiation and some types of chemotherapies can cause infertility by killing sperm and egg cells. Te cancer patient’s age, as well as the amount, duration, type, and location of cancer treatment, can all decrease fertility.
Most cancer survivors can still be parents after completing treatment.
What options are available?
For many cancer survivors, natural reproduction is possible after treatment. If not, consider an assisted approach such as egg or sperm freezing. In these approaches, before you undergo cancer treatment, your own reproductive cells are saved for future use. You need to discuss this with your health care provider before your treatment begins.
Sperm or egg donation is an option for cancer survivors who cannot use their own. Surrogacy is also possible, but there are legal restrictions. Couples can also opt for adoption. Adoption agencies often collect medical history information, so it is important to use an agency with experience in adoptions for cancer survivors.
Is it safe to have a child after cancer?
Yes. Research shows that children of cancer survivors have the same rate of birth defects as in the general population. Unless the birth parent has a family history of cancer or an inherited higher cancer risk, cancer rates are also the same as in the general population. Talk with your health care provider about your family cancer history.
Yoga classes for current and former patients and their families
Tuesdays 5-6 p.m. Fridays 10-11 a.m.
For more information, call the Linda B. and Robert B. Wiggins Wellness Center at 801-587-4585
Questions About Cancer?
Te Cancer Learning Center (CLC) gives you the answers you need—in person, by phone, or by e-mail. Te CLC library has more than 3,000 books, videos, CDs, and audiobooks on a variety of cancer topics that anyone can check out free. Talk one-on-one with trained and caring staff, or send an e-mail for answers to your cancer questions.
Visit the first floor of Huntsman Cancer Institute
9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday Free for everyone
Call 1-888-424-2100 toll free Send e-mail to
Look Good, Feel Better
The Linda B. and Robert B. Wiggins Wellness Center partners with the American Cancer Society to provide the
Look Good…Feel Better program at Huntsman Cancer Institute. Women with cancer learn cosmetic tips and creative ways to use wigs, scarves, and other accessories. Each participant receives a free cosmetic kit to match her skin tone.
4:30–6:30 p.m. 4th Wednesday of each month
To register for this free class, call the Wellness Center at 801-587-4585.
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