Surgery or radiation therapy for cervical cancer may mean you are unable to conceive children. Before treatment starts, ask your doctor or a fertility specialist about what options are available to you.
Many women experience a sense of loss when they learn that their reproductive organs will be removed or will no longer function. You may feel extremely upset if you are no longer able to have children, and may worry about the impact of this on your relationship or future relationships. Even if your family is complete or you were not planning to have children, you may feel some distress. If you have a partner, talk to them about your feelings. Speaking to a counsellor or gynaecological oncology nurse may also help.
Ways to preserve fertility
- If you have not already been through menopause, ask about ways to preserve your fertility. One option may be to store eggs or embryos for use in the future.
- Having a trachelectomy, where only the cervix is removed, is an option for some women. It will still be possible to become pregnant after this procedure, but you will be at higher risk of having a miscarriage and having the baby prematurely. Your doctor can discuss these risks with you.
- If you require radiation therapy but your ovaries do not need to be treated, one or both of the ovaries may be surgically moved higher in the abdomen and out of the field of This is called ovarian transposition or relocation (oophoropexy), and it may help the ovaries keep working properly.
For more on this, see Women’s options before cancer treatment.
A/Prof Penny Blomfield, Gynaecological Oncologist, Hobart Women’s Specialists, and Chair, Australian Society of Gynaecological Oncologists, TAS; Karina Campbell, Consumer; Carmen Heathcote, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland; Dr Pearly Khaw, Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; A/Prof Jim Nicklin, Director, Gynaecological Oncology, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and Associate Professor Gynaecologic Oncology, The University of Queensland; Prof Martin K Oehler, Director, Gynaecological Oncology, Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA; Dr Megan Smith, Program Manager – Cervix, Cancer Council NSW; Pauline Tanner, Cancer Nurse Coordinator – Gynaecology, WA Cancer & Palliative Care Network, WA; Tamara Wraith, Senior Clinician, Physiotherapy Department, The Royal Women’s Hospital, VIC. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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