Young adults diagnosed with cancer are living longer than ever due to improved treatment regimens. The 5-year survival rate for certain subtypes of leukemia and Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's diseases, for example, has dramatically increased to 75%-90%.1 However, the neoplastic disease per se and/or its treatment commonly impair fertility, leaving many patients unable to bear healthy, biological children.

Hematologic malignancies, in particular, can adversely affect fertility in a number of ways. Since these diseases generally involve the hypothalamus and pituitary, they can directly affect gonadotropin secretion, resulting in secondary hypogonadism and, hence, defective sperm formation and infertility. In addition, chemotherapy and radiation therapy—both being used to treat hematologic malignancies—are toxic to the male and female gonads. Even if fertility does not decline as a result of therapy or returns naturally, patients can still be rendered sterile by cyto-toxic therapy, as these drugs can cause genetic mutations in germ cells.2 Similarly, any cytotoxic therapy administered to pregnant women has the potential for serious teratogenic consequences on the fetus (see Chapter 106).

100 Pregnancy Tips

100 Pregnancy Tips

Prior to planning pregnancy, you should learn more about the things involved in getting pregnant. It involves carrying a baby inside you for nine months, caring for a child for a number of years, and many more. Consider these things, so that you can properly assess if you are ready for pregnancy. Get all these very important tips about pregnancy that you need to know.

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