Some types of cancer treatment can affect a person's fertility, the ability to conceive a child or maintain a pregnancy. Infertility may be temporary or permanent. Whether treatment causes infertility depends on the following:
- The type and dose of the drug and how it's given (by mouth, injection, or intravenously [through a vein])
- The dose of radiation given and the area being irradiated
- The type of cancer
- The patient's age and gender
- Whether a patient had fertility problems before cancer treatment
Fertility in a woman may be decreased even if regular menstrual periods continue during treatment or return after treatment. In addition, cancer treatment can cause premature menopause, which shortens the length of time a woman is fertile. Learn more about pregnancy and cancer .
If you are concerned that your cancer treatment will affect your fertility, talk with your doctor. Not all cancer treatments harm fertility, but if the treatment you are receiving does include a risk of infertility, fertility preservation treatments are available. Your chances for maintaining your fertility are greatest if you discuss and think about your options as early as possible.