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?
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.
outlines how fertility preservation can be worked into
the process when you are finding out more about your
diagnosis and treatment plan.