February 4th is World Cancer Day and it’s an opportunity to raise awareness about cancer and the impact it has on individuals, families, and communities around the world.
Cancer & Fertility Preservation
One of the lesser-known impacts of cancer is the effect it can have on fertility. Many cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, can cause infertility and make it difficult for individuals to start a family after their cancer journey is over.
Fertility preservation is the process of preserving a person’s ability to have biological children before undergoing cancer treatment. It can include methods such as cryopreservation (freezing) of sperm, eggs, or embryos, ovarian tissue freezing, and gonadal shielding during radiation therapy. This allows cancer patients to have the option of having biological children in the future, even if their fertility is affected by the cancer treatment.
Fertility preservation is an important option for cancer patients of reproductive age and should be discussed with healthcare providers before treatment. This gives patients the option of having biological children in the future, even if their fertility is affected by cancer treatment.
When facing a cancer diagnosis, one of the concerns that may arise is how the treatment may affect fertility. Fertility preservation is the process of preserving a person’s ability to have biological children before undergoing cancer treatment. Here is an overview of a few methods that could be an option to preserve fertility.
Cryopreservation involves freezing sperm, eggs, or embryos for future use. This method is a good option for individuals who have not yet started a family and want to preserve their fertility before undergoing cancer treatment.
Ovarian tissue freezing
Ovarian tissue freezing is a method where a piece of ovarian tissue is removed, frozen, and stored for later use. This method is usually used for women who have not yet reached menopause. The tissue can later be transplanted back into the patient’s body to restore ovarian function and fertility.
Gonadal shielding is a method where a shield is placed over the ovaries during radiation therapy to protect them from radiation exposure. This method is usually used for individuals who are undergoing radiation therapy to the pelvic area.
This method involves the use of medication to temporarily suppress the ovaries from ovulating before cancer treatment. This method is usually used for individuals who are undergoing chemotherapy and help to protect the ovaries from the harmful effects of cancer treatment.
Making certain changes to your diet can help preserve fertility. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins E and C, may help protect eggs and sperm from damage.
It’s important to note that not all cancer patients are candidates for fertility preservation, and the decision to pursue it should be made on an individual basis, taking into account the type of cancer, stage of cancer, treatment plan, and patient preferences. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional as soon as possible to evaluate your options, and make an informed decision based on your personal circumstances.
Cancer & Acupuncture
In a cancer diagnosis, it can be difficult to navigate the physical and emotional aspects of treatment. However, acupuncture can be a valuable tool to help support cancer patients through their journey. Acupuncture has been found to be safe and effective in improving overall health and well-being, and can also be used to support fertility preservation.
Acupuncture has been found to improve ovarian function and increase blood flow to the ovaries, which can be beneficial for patients undergoing ovarian tissue freezing or egg freezing. A study published in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics found that “acupuncture can improve ovarian function and increase blood flow to the ovaries” (Siterman, et al., 2017).
Acupuncture can also help to reduce the side effects of cancer treatment, such as nausea, fatigue, and stress. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that “acupuncture can reduce the side effects of chemotherapy” (Smith, et al., 2016). This can be important for cancer patients undergoing fertility preservation, as the side effects of treatment can make it a difficult process to go through.
Acupuncture can also help to improve overall health and well-being, which can be important for cancer patients undergoing fertility preservation. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that “acupuncture can improve overall health and well-being in cancer patients” (Smith, et al., 2016).
Fertility preservation is an important option for cancer patients of reproductive age. Acupuncture can improve ovarian function and blood flow to the ovaries, reduce the side effects of cancer treatment, and improve overall health and well-being. It’s always recommended to work closely with your healthcare provider to determine the best integrative treatment approach for each individual.
To find out more about how we can support you through cancer treatment, schedule a free 15-minute Q&A consultation with one of our acupuncture specialists.
Beautiful photo: @yaseminvollmond