Menopause and infertility
Chemotherapy can cause your periods to stop for a time, or it may cause them to stop permanently (early menopause).
Symptoms of menopause include:
- hot flushes
- trouble sleeping
- vaginal dryness
- reduced sex drive (libido)
- dry skin
- mood swings
- weight gain
Talk to your doctor or breast care nurse about how to relieve symptoms.
If chemotherapy causes menopause, you won’t be able to have children naturally. Talk to your doctor before treatment starts, as there may be ways to reduce the risk of early menopause or to preserve your fertility.
If you find out you might not be able to get pregnant and have a child, you may feel a great sense of loss. Talking to a counsellor or someone in a similar situation may help – call Cancer Council 13 11 20 for information about counselling services and support groups in your area.
For more on this, see Fertility and cancer.
Podcast: Sex and Cancer
A/Prof Elisabeth Elder, Specialist Breast Surgeon, Westmead Breast Cancer Institute and The University of Sydney, NSW; Collette Butler, Clinical Nurse Consultant and McGrath Breast Care Nurse, Cancer Support Centre, Launceston, TAS; Tania Cercone, Consumer; Kate Cox, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Dr Marcus Dreosti, Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director, GenesisCare, SA; Dr Susan Fraser, Breast Physician, Cairns Hospital and Marlin Coast Surgery Cairns, QLD; Dr Hilda High, Genetic Oncologist, Sydney Cancer Genetics, NSW; Prof David W Kissane AC, Chair of Palliative Medicine Research, The University of Notre Dame Australia, and St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, NSW; Prof Sherene Loi, Medical Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr W Kevin Patterson, Medical Oncologist, Adelaide Oncology and Haematology, SA; Angela Thomas, Consumer; Iwa Yeung, Physiotherapist, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD.
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