Pregnancy

Hi, Can anyone help. I’m really confused, just about finished radiography (25 sessions) after having chemo (EV). I was given EV because, even though I’m getting a bit long in the tooth, I didn’t want to loose my fertility. I have a younger partner(lucky me!) he hasn’t had any children and we would dearly love a child together.

I should be seeing my onchologist again soon, he has recommended Tamoxifen for 2 years. I have since read that this has been used as a fertility drug, however a side effect is that it can wipe out periods. Mine still haven’t returned and my last chemo treatment was on 19th June. How can a drug be a fertility drug and bring on menopausal symptoms at the same time?

I can’t believe that I’m really looking forward to a period if it comes back. I would love to feel like normal again.

Any comments gratefully received.

Adrienne

Hi Adrienne

The leaflet in my tamoxifen pack says it can be used to treat infertility and also breast growths but it seems to be used in different ways depending on what it is treating. I think quite a lot of drugs have multiple uses, I’m sure I’ve read that Prozac, for example, was used to treat various complaints, before being mainly used for depression.

I would ask your oncologist about this when you see him next. I’ve had a couple of conversations with my oncologist about all this, because I don’t have any children, but don’t want to lose the option, if possible. What I’ve been told is that I shouldn’t get pregnant while I’m taking tamoxifen because it could damage the foetus. Before I started the tamoxifen, the chemo had stopped my periods, and he said they might come back, then stop again because of the tamoxifen. This is what has happened to me, and at the moment I’m still having periods, though farther apart than would have been the norm for me before I started treatment. As far as I understand it, the tamoxifen shouldn’t put me into menopause, like chemo can, but, depending on what else is happening to your body, it could mask its effects - so you could finish tamoxifen, but by that time, because of your age (or “one’s age”, rather, I don’t know how old you are!) your body could have gone into menopause, which you’ve put down to the side effects of the tamoxifen (if that makes any sense?)

There is quite useful info on this site and also cancerbackup which might help you.

Hope this helps

Patience

Thanks for your comments. I will be asking the oncologist when I see him. Although my treatment team have been very good, I don’t know if they really understand my need to have more children. I turned 45 in July and that seems to be the age when women are expected to not want any more children. In a lot of ways I had said as much to myself, that’s why being diagnosed with cancer, when we had just decided to try for a baby seems like a double whammy.

Before starting any treatment I had my contraceptive implant removed, and I did have 1 period before starting chemo. Unfortunately I was not able to have my ovaries checked before going into chemo, because my period didn’t start back straight away. I could feel pressure mounting for me not to delay chemo any further. So now I really don’t know if I have any fertility left, and if I go onto Tamoxifen for the next 2 years, I WILL definitely be too old to consider getting pregnant, I might even be a grandmother by then!

So I think that going on Tamoxifen is really saying ta ta to the opportunity of having more children. When I started treatment it seemed to me that the oncologist was giving me hope, by referring me to the fertility unit, now I’m about through the worse of the treatment I am faced with the reality of the situation.

I know that I must sounds really selfish, and I can’t imagine what it must feel like if I hadn’t already had children, and my heart goes out to you if that’s your situation. Having children meant so much to me and I’ve now got 2 lovely nearly grown up sons. I always wanted more kids but my ex didn’t so children came off the agenda.

Anyway, thank you for your comments. Best wishes to all of you out there. Adrienne