Fertility During Chemotherapy

Last Modified: November 1, 2008


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

Can a patient receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer get pregnant?


Carolyn Vachani RN, MSN, AOCN, OncoLink's Nurse Educator, responds:

A woman receiving treatment for breast cancer who was not menopausal (in other words, who is still premenopausal) before starting treatment can still get pregnant on therapy. This is possible even if the woman’s periods temporarily stop during therapy. For this reason, all patients should use an effective form of birth control while on therapy. Accidental pregnancy during cancer treatment can be difficult to cope with, as many cancer therapies would be harmful to the fetus. Some cancer therapies can be given later in the pregnancy, but to avoid this dilemma all together, we encourage our patients to use birth control.


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