Good news: Most female childhood cancer survivors can conceive later

Good news: Most female childhood cancer survivors can conceive later

A recent study has found that childhood cancer survivors are likely to conceive in the future. Read on to know more about some early signs of cancer detection in childhood

In a study that has brought hope to young female cancer survivors, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, Seattle, US, have found that most childhood cancer survivors have a good chance to conceive later in life.

They observed that 'the impact of modern chemotherapy regimens on the likelihood of becoming pregnant is generally small.'

On the contrary, male cancer survivors are less likely to have children, especially if they are treated with chemotherapy regimens. Let's not forget that these regimes contain high doses of commonly used alkylating drugs and cisplatin.

What the study says

The study, that specifically focussed on survivors treated with chemotherapy, was recently published in The Lancet Oncology.

For the purpose of this study, the researchers used data from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS). It tracked people who were diagnosed with the most common types of childhood cancer before the age of 21, across the USA and Canada between 1970 and 1999).

They made the following key observations:

  • By age 45, 70 percent of female cancer survivors are able to conceive, compared to over 80 percent of their siblings.
  • For male cancer survivors, the figure was 50 per cent, compared to 80 percent for their siblings.
  • In male survivors, the likelihood of becoming a father decreased as cumulative exposure to the drugs and chemotherapy increased.
  • Overall, they found that female survivors were still less likely to get pregnant as compared to their siblings. However, the effect was much smaller as compared to men.

The researchers also examined the impact of various doses of the most commonly used chemotherapy drugs on pregnancy and livebirth in 10,938 male and female survivors, as compared to 3,949 siblings. The findings of this is consistent with previous studies that suggested that men who undergo cancer treatment have low sperm count.

How does this study benefit Indian cancer survivors?

The researchers of the study that was led by Dr Eric Chow, state that in general, these results are encouraging for most women who were treated with chemotherapy during their childhood.

Early detection of cancer in children

Early detection of cancer in children can be a bit tedious but it not impossible. If you detect the following signs (listed byThe Pediatric Oncology Resource Center),  you must immediately consult a specialist for cancer detection

  • Continued, unexplained weight loss
  • Headaches, often with early morning vomiting
  • Increased swelling or persistent pain in the bones, joints, back, or legs
  • Lump or mass, especially in the abdomen, neck, chest, pelvis, or armpits
  • Development of excessive bruising, bleeding, or rash
  • Constant, frequent, or persistent infections
  • A whitish color behind the pupil
  • Nausea that persists or vomiting without nausea
  • Constant tiredness or noticeable paleness
  • Eye or vision changes that occur suddenly and persist
  • Recurring or persistent fevers of unknown origin

Read: 5 Indian celebs who survived cancer

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Written by

Deepshikha Punj

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