- Question from IRossi: I'm 36 years old. I had an invasive breast cancer two and a half years ago with no lymph node involvement. After surgery, I had radiation followed by two years of tamoxifen and Zoladex. I would like to get pregnant again. Is that safe?
- Answers - Lynn Schuchter This is another very complicated question. In general, women who have had breast cancer can safely become pregnant and in general the available data and evidence suggest that pregnancy itself does not alter a woman's risk for recurrence of her breast cancer. Having said that, it still is complicated in terms of planning the timing of a pregnancy: how soon one becomes pregnant after a diagnosis of breast cancer and the possibility of compromising the overall plan for treatment by becoming pregnant. In women who have received chemotherapy, we generally like to wait at least one year from chemotherapy before becoming pregnant. In your specific question, you may be considering stopping your hormonal therapy earlier than the planned five years to become pregnant. That is a very complicated decision. So here we are weighing your ability to become pregnant as you become older, and as one becomes older it is more difficult to become pregnant so we see competing pressures. If you complete the entire 5 years of your treatment, you'll be older and have a more difficult time getting pregnant. On the other hand, if you stop your hormonal therapy earlier in order to become pregnant, then you alter your overall treatment plan for the breast cancer. Certainly women should not become pregnant while taking tamoxifen and Zoladex as they could have untoward effects on the fetus. So this is a complicated conversation that you should have with your oncologist and your gynecologist, looking at benefits and risks. I think medical oncologists are more open now to discussing these issues with women. It's not an uncommon situation, and requires thoughtful conversation with your doctors.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Young Women and Breast Cancer feautred Lynn Schuchter, M.D. and moderator Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. answering your questions about the special concerns of young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in April 2006.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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