Cervical cancer does not usually mean that you will become infertility. But the possibility is extremely high. The enforced, involuntary removal of the womb is a very final act beyond which there is no going back. It may even feel as though one’s womanhood is being stolen. Many women find that if they allow themselves to grieve, as for the death of a loved one, it helps them to make sense of the loss and to integrate the experience into their sense of self.
Some pre-cancer treatments can untoward affect your fertility, as the cone biopsy for example. There is a small chance that the cervix can close very tightly after a cone biopsy procedure. And it will be so tightly that sperm isn’t able to enter it. It is known as cervical stenosis. Women who have had cone biopsies are also more likely to give birth before 37 weeks. The increased risk of early birth is because the cone biopsy weakens the cervix, which is really a muscle that keeps the entrance to the womb closed. In that way if the cervix has been weakened, the weight of the baby pressing down on the cervix may cause it to open too soon and induce labour.
LLETZ stands for large loop excision of the transformation zone. And it has coarsely the same effects as cone biopsies such as: low birth weight, early birth and increased caesarian sections. In a review it was revealed that the amount of cervical tissue removed had an impact on the risk of early birth. If the excision was more than 10mm deep then the risk for early birth increased. Laser therapy, cryotherapy and diathermy are unlikely to affect your fertility.
When you actually have cancer and have to go for treatment your chances of infertility are increased as the treatment becomes more aggressive and invasive. Chemotherapy causes infertility although for some people the effects are only temporary. The permanence of chemo’s infertility depends of many factors. But if you are still young and have your heart set on having children it may be possible to choose a chemotherapy that will least affect your fertility, but it also depends on the circumstances.
Radiotherapy can obviously lead to infertility and is more likely to be permanent. The risk is increased with the strength of the dose and the increased age of the patient. Body irradiation usually cause of permanent infertility.
Surgery to remove cancer does not generally affect fertility. But in the case of cervical cancer where it might be necessary to have the womb or ovaries removed, infertility is an inevitable consequence. Some types of surgery to the cervix, vagina and vulva also result in infertility.
Cervical cancer is not a death sentence. In fact it is one of the most curable cancers around. For many women it does mean the end of life, or the end of progeny. For many women this in itself is a death sentence. They need support and love to help them through this very difficult time and to enable them to see that they still have so much to offer the world.