One of the questions in the minds of women who are treated for breast cancer is whether they can become mothers. Gynecological Oncology Surgery Specialist Prof. stated that patients can only become pregnant after recovery. Dr. Ateş Karateke explained the points that need to be taken into consideration for this.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women. Reminding that the disease threatens one in every 8 women in our country, Gynecological Oncology Surgery Specialist Prof. Dr. Ateş Karateke gave guiding information for women who have been treated for breast cancer and plan to become mothers. Prof. Dr. Karateke’s warnings about the treatment period and the post-treatment period are as follows:
What should be taken into consideration during the treatment period?
In breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, changes in the menstrual cycle and fertility problems are observed. During this process, contraceptive methods must be applied. In general, in cases younger than 35 years of age, the menstrual cycle will return within 2 years, but in cases older than 35 years of age, these results may be very different. Some people may also experience changes in their menstrual cycle and hot flashes.
The use of medication in treatment does not impair fertility and may even increase it, but the use of this medication during pregnancy is not accepted and is harmful to the baby. In young cases under treatment, if the person does not plan to have children, non-hormonal methods to prevent pregnancy; In other words, it would be appropriate to connect or remove condoms, coils or tubes. If a person with breast cancer wants to continue her fertility, she should be told about egg or embryo freezing methods when necessary.
Problems that negatively affect sexual life should also be treated.
During this period, we see a decrease in sexual desire and pleasure in many of our patients. This situation is less severe in cases with partial mastectomy, whose body image is less distorted. Weakness and decreased sexual desire will disappear 2 years after the end of treatment. Treatment-related menopausal symptoms occur in most patients. In particular, problems that negatively affect sexual life, such as vaginal dryness, need to be treated.
Psychological and sexual difficulties are not observed in people who do not have problems with their spouses or partners. Before and during diagnosis and treatment, psychological and sexual disorders as well as treatment-related side effects are more common in cases with ongoing problematic relationships. The close circle of the patients is of great importance in the success of the treatment and a smooth process. Psychiatric consultations are recommended for people who cannot receive sufficient support from their spouses and their surroundings.
You should wait at least 2 years for pregnancy
If the person becomes pregnant within 6 months after treatment, the course of the disease will be worse. For this reason, patients who want to become mothers should wait at least 2-3 years after treatment for a healthy pregnancy.
The risk of depression increases after illness
Depressive disorders are 4 times more common in people who have recovered from cancer treatment than in healthy women. Physicians who follow the patients are not aware of the presence of depression, which is seen in more than half of these people. However, these problems impair the quality of life, hinder the workforce and lead to increased healthcare expenses. It is obvious that as anxiety and depressive disorders increase, oncological outcomes also worsen.
Depression and anxiety need to be investigated
Depression and anxiety disorders should be investigated in people who have survived cancer and successfully completed the difficult and long treatment process. In the presence of such a situation, psychiatric consultation should be made. When using antidepressants, it should not be forgotten that these drugs may interact with the drug used in cancer treatment. Therefore, it should be used under the supervision of a doctor.