General Question

Pandora's avatar

Can a woman still have healthy eggs after chemo?

Asked by Pandora (26812points) 1 week ago

I read and article of a young woman who had Ovarian Cancer and got treatment for it. She was at stage 3. One of her ovaries was removed but the other one is just fine. They say she will be able to have children some day still. So I was wondering if she had chemo and if she did, how does the eggs not get affected. Women are born with all of their eggs so that means she doesn’t make new ones. Won’t her eggs be damaged?

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11 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

Radiation for cancer is very tightly targeted, only a small area is affected, the second ovary could have been completely spared.
Nowadays, not all chemos will sterilize the person. 20 years ago, it was a pretty fair bet that the chemo protocols would have sterilized her, so unless she froze some eggs ahe would not have biological children, but now the damage is much much less.
Surviving stage 3 ovarian is pretty miraculous in and of itself.

Pandora's avatar

@canidmajor Thanks. It was pretty miraculous but being she was 17 at the time a lot of it probably had to do with being young and otherwise healthy. She was a cheerleader so I’m sure she was as fit as possible for a young person. I often wonder if hormones may play a part in cancers that hit the ovaries.

canidmajor's avatar

@Pandora, there has been a lot of research done into the affect that hormones have on reproductive cancers, if you are interested, I imagine a quick Google search would yield a boatload of information. Young and fit probably helped, but type of treatment probably had more to do with it.

JLeslie's avatar

As far as I knew the chemistry for ovarian cancer have the risk of causing menopause, so if she had a chemo without that risk that’s great.

@canidmajor You spoke about both radiation and chemo like they are the same thing. I realize you might know the difference, but what confused me is the OP asked about chemo, and you started your answer with radiation treatments. Which, I agree radiation is much more specific now, but the OP didn’t say anything about the girl getting radiation.

canidmajor's avatar

No I didn’t, @JLeslie, you misread my post. It is likely that I know more about the protocols I experienced than you do.
Her details indicated that she was guessing about treatment so I addressed that, as it applied to my knowledge based on my experience.
I’m sorry you disapproved of the way I answered someone else’s Q.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Really, @canidmajor? It looks to me like @JLeslie was trying to clarify the information that you left in your post (which is the only place I see disapproval in this thread).

@Pandora Personally, I would be most concerned about the effect of chemo on birth defects, because, as you say, women are born with all of the eggs they will ever release. These eggs deteriorate over a lifetime, which is why the rate of birth defects increases with age. I would be surprised if any form of chemotherapy had no effect on the rate of defects. Your friend should research the specific drugs used in her treatment to see what the risks are. There’s a list of some of the worse ones from the American Cancer Society, but it looks like it’s a few years old.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The OP assumed it was going to be chemo. @canidmajor pointed out that they may choose another, more area specific treatment and that’s why she could still have children.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I understood her post, @Dutchess_III, thank you.

JLeslie's avatar

@canidmajor Chill. I basically agreed with the information you gave. I don’t know why you are so defensive. Sorry I upset you.

I really still don’t see where the OP mentioned radiation, but I don’t see a big problem with offering up your info about the radiation. I agreed with you that radiation is much more specifically targeted now.

Shit, I wasn’t questioning your experience with the protocols. I didn’t say the friend would not have received radiation for sure, I’m not assuming.

Dutchess_III's avatar

She didn’t mention radiation. She did say uncertainly “So I was wondering if she had chemo…” She doesn’t know. It could have been radiation.

jca's avatar

They would probably take some of her eggs and store them for in vitro or another type of artificial means of sterilization for the future.

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