Common concerns

Here are some common concerns that are often raised by people affected by cancer, in relation to fertility.

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Should I have a child after I've had cancer?

This is a very personal decision. A cancer diagnosis may affect the way you think and feel about having a child. If you have a partner, you may want to discuss your family plans together. Fertility clinics often have counsellors who can talk through the pros and cons of your situation.

– Liam

How long should I wait to conceive after treatment?

This depends on many factors, including the type of cancer and type of treatment. Some specialists advise waiting two years after treatment ends. This may be to allow your body to recover, and to ensure you remain in good health during this time. It’s best to discuss the timing with your doctor.

For some fertility treatments, you will need to take extra hormones or stimulate your hormones. Discuss the potential risks of particular fertility treatments with your cancer or fertility specialist. Taking hormone receptor blockers during egg collection will help reduce the risks.

Will having children cause the cancer to come back?

Research shows that pregnancy does not increase the chances of cancer coming back (recurring). However, studies have mainly focused on women with breast cancer. Research is continuing, so it’s best to discuss this issue with your specialist.

For more information about pregnancy and cancer, see Fertility options for women, and Fertility options for men.

Studies to date also suggest that survival rates for people who have children after cancer treatment are no different from people who don’t have children after treatment.

If I’ve had cancer, will my children get cancer?

Studies show that if one or both parents have a history of cancer, their child is at no greater risk of getting cancer than anyone else. However, a small percentage of certain cancers (up to 5%) are due to an inherited faulty gene from either the mother or father. This is known as familial cancer. The faulty gene increases the risk of cancer, but even then it does not mean that a child will inherit the gene and develop cancer.

A genetic counsellor is the most qualified person to give you up-to-date information about the genetic risks of cancers for family members.

What if I was already pregnant at diagnosis?

Being diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy is uncommon – it is estimated that one in every 1000 pregnant women is diagnosed with cancer.

It may still be possible to have cancer treatment during pregnancy. It’s best to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your oncologist before treatment begins. In some cases, treatment can be delayed until after the birth. If necessary, chemotherapy can be safely used after the first trimester (12+ weeks).

Some women diagnosed with cancer in the early weeks of pregnancy decide to terminate the pregnancy so they can start treatment immediately, while others who are diagnosed later in the pregnancy choose to deliver before the due date.

– Lily

You will be advised not to breastfeed during chemotherapy as drugs can be passed to the baby through the breastmilk. It may not be possible to breastfeed during other treatments. For support, call the Australian Breastfeeding Association on 1800 686 268.

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Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

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To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
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Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

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Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
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Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in May 2018
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