Childhood cancer survivors 'can still get pregnant'

16 July 2013

Pregnancy outcomes for survivors of childhood cancer are better than previously thought, with the majority likely to conceive without the need for fertility treatment, a study suggests.

Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute looked at data from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, including 3,531 females, aged 18 to 39, who had survived cancer when they were younger.

These women were compared with a further 1,366 female siblings who had not had cancer.

Analysis revealed that 15.9 per cent of childhood cancer survivors were affected by infertility, along with 10.8 per cent of their sisters who had never been treated for cancer.

Almost two-thirds of cancer survivors who had been trying to get pregnant for at least a year managed to conceive after another six months, on average.

This compared with an average of five months of extra trying for women in the control group who eventually conceived after an initial year with no success.

Senior author Dr Lisa Diller, whose findings are published in Lancet Oncology medical journal, said: "Most women think that if they had cancer as a child, then they'll never have children.

"It turns out that many of them can get pregnant. It just might be a little harder."

Posted by Edward Bartel

 

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