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Breast Cancer and Chemotherapy

Will My Periods Return After Chemotherapy?

Many women not yet in menopause keep or recover their regular periods after chemotherapy is completed. However, return of ovarian function may depend on a woman's age prior to treatment and the type of medication she received during treatment.

Can I Get Pregnant During Chemotherapy?

As long as you are menstruating, you can get pregnant, even during chemotherapy treatment. While on chemotherapy, however, your menstrual cycle may become irregular. Therefore, you may never be quite sure of when you are ovulating. And, you can't be sure if a menstrual cycle is egg-producing. 

Becoming pregnant while receiving chemotherapy could result in a complicated pregnancy.

Even if  periods seem to have stopped, a safe and effective method of birth control -- preferably barrier types like condoms or diaphragm -- should be used for at least four to eight weeks after chemotherapy treatments have ended.

 

What Is the Safest Type of Birth Control During Chemotherapy?

A safe and effective birth control method is necessary during your chemotherapy treatment. Guidelines for young women undergoing chemotherapy may include the use of barrier contraceptives such as a diaphragm or a condom. Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) may be acceptable for some women, but are generally not recommended for women with breast cancer.

What Happens If I Get Pregnant During Chemotherapy?

If you think you might be pregnant, it is important to tell your doctor right away so that steps can be taken to ensure the health of you and your baby.

Some chemotherapy drugs used to treat breast cancer are safely given during pregnancy. However, chemotherapy is only safe during the second and third trimesters. 

How Long Should I Wait to Get Pregnant After Chemotherapy?

Pregnancies after chemotherapy are not uncommon, but they need to be planned after you complete treatment. It's generally recommended a woman wait at least two years to get pregnant after chemotherapy. Consult your doctor about your plans to get pregnant. In many cases, pregnancy will not influence the return of cancer, but there are situations in which pregnancy should be considered with caution.

If infertility is an issue after your treatment is complete, there are alternative therapies. Discuss options with your gynecologist.

Are There Risks of Chromosomal Abnormalities or Cancer in Children Conceived After Chemotherapy?

No. There is no known risk of chromosomal abnormalities in children delivered after a woman has completed chemotherapy. There is also no evidence that chemotherapy causes cancer in children who are conceived after the completion of chemotherapy.

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Angela Jain on June 17, 2014

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