Ovarian cancer and fertility
Your fertility will be affected if you have a single ovary removed, an oophorectomy, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
If you would like to have a child or more children, talk to your doctor or nurse before treatment to see if there are any options . Depending on the treatment, your fertility may be temporarily gone or you may have permanent infertility.
Dealing with infertility
Dealing with infertility can be as hard as dealing with a cancer diagnosis for some women. Feelings of anger, grief, sadness and loss of identity are common at this time. It is important to talk openly to your partner or a friend about these feelings. If you are finding it hard to deal with infertility, it may help to talk to your nurse or doctor. Do not be afraid to ask for help in dealing with this matter. Your doctor may arrange for you to speak to a trained counsellor or a specialist.
You will be advised to use contraception for at least 3 months after surgery. Your doctor will give you advice about contraception.
Radiotherapy to your ovaries and surgically removing them will bring on early menopause and cause symptoms. Some chemotherapy drugs can also cause menopausal symptoms. Menopausal symptoms include:
- Hot flushes
- Dry skin
- Dryness of your vagina
- Reduced sexual desire (libido)
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Poor concentration
- Osteoporosis (thinning bones).
Most of these effects can be prevented or reversed by replacing the hormones that your ovaries previously made. In young women it is very important that these hormones are replaced. Your doctor may prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) following treatment for ovarian cancer. However, you may not be suitable for HRT. For example, if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer.
HRT can be given in different ways. For example, in tablet form or through an implant device put under your skin, or by a slow release patch worn on your arm or leg.
If you are not suitable for HRT, you may be at risk of developing osteoporosis (thinning of the bone). In this case, your doctor will give you advice on how to prevent it.
Read more about managing menopausal symptoms.
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