The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) reported that around 14.5 lakh new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in India in 2016, and it is projected to reach nearly 17 lakhs by 2020. Breast cancer accounts for about 10% of all types of cancer cases in the country. Moreover, with ever-changing lifestyle, breast cancer is now seen affecting at least 1 in 400 men.
Some of the known risk factors of cancer include increased lifespan, family history of cancer, etc. While increased awareness, early detection and timely treatment have improved the survival rates, a common quality of life issue that comes up post cancer treatment is the ability to procreate. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy involve certain drugs and exposure to radiations, which can effectively kill cancer cells and prevent relapses, but may also cause damage to the gametes i.e. eggs and sperms, causing difficulties in conceiving later. Fertility preservation gives hope to have a family after surviving cancer. Cancer patients have the option to freeze their eggs, sperms or embryos prior to cancer treatment, so that if infertility unfortunately occurs, they can still conceive through fertility treatment when they are cured.
“As we talk about awareness around breast cancer this month, we would like to discuss life after cancer, because men and women often feel revived post cancer treatment and subsequent infertility can shatter the feeling. Since oncologists are the first ones to be consulted, it is important for them to spread awareness on the consequences of cancer treatment on fertility, and also discuss the options of fertility preservation before starting cancer treatment,” says Dr. Manish Banker, Director, Nova IVF Fertility : www.novaivifertility.com
Read the story about breast cancer in men in The Times of India:
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