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NCCN Guidelines for Patients


Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer, Version 1.2017


Preparing for the future

24 Can I have children after cancer treatment?

27 What do I need to know about fertility?

28 What are my options?

30 Review

Treatment can affect your ability

to have children.

Part 3 talks about fertility risks and steps

you can take to preserve your fertility.

Can I have children after cancer


Your fertility is important to think about after a cancer

diagnosis. It may seem strange to start thinking about

having children when you learn you have cancer. But

now is the time to think about this possibility before

treatment gets started. The fact that you are at an

age when you are able to have children is one of the

many things that sets you apart from most people

with cancer. It’s important because cancer and its

treatment can damage your reproductive organs and

make it difficult or impossible to have children.

Up until recently most young cancer patients—and

their doctors—didn’t think much about fertility. In 2006

the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)

published guidelines recommending that cancer

doctors talk with their AYA patients about fertility

issues. Doctors are to inform them about options for

preserving fertility, and provide referrals to fertility

specialists when possible before starting treatment.

This is also reflected in the clinical guidelines written

by NCCN experts on cancer in AYAs. The NCCN

experts recommend talking to your doctor at the very

start of your cancer care about the risks of infertility

and use of fertility preservation.

So even if you’ve never really thought much about

being a parent, it is helpful to learn about fertility

issues as soon as you’re diagnosed.

Figure 5

outlines how fertility preservation can be worked into

the process when you are finding out more about your

diagnosis and treatment plan.