The infertility community shares a sobering statistic with breast cancer patients: One in 8 women will face a breast cancer diagnosis and one in 8 couples will experience infertility.
Like advances in reproductive medicine that offer hope for a cure, breast cancer treatment and early detection are helping women survive their breast cancer diagnosis.
You may not know that Texas Fertility Center physicians, before pursuing board certification in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, performed residencies as Ob/Gyn doctors. Breast health was once a primary responsibility for TFC doctors, as specialists in women’s health.
The good news about breast cancer: Early detection saves lives. The American Cancer Society attributes a decline in breast cancer mortality rates to improvements in breast cancer treatment as well as early detection.
3 steps for early detection of breast cancer
1) Monthly breast self-exams
2) Annual mammograms after age 40
3) MRI or breast ultrasound for women at higher risk for breast cancer, (i.e. women with dense breast tissue)
TFC and the American Cancer Society recommend lifestyle changes for optimal breast health
1) Limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day.
2) Maintain a healthful weight, especially after menopause when fat tissue produces estrogen, which can potentially contribute to breast cancer. There may also be a correlation between excess weight in the waist area and breast cancer.
3) Exercise. A Women’s Health Initiative study shows that walking as little as 1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours per week may reduce your risk of breast cancer by up to 18%. The American Cancer Society recommends 45 minutes to one hour of exercise at least 5 days a week.
As fertility specialists, we work with women with breast cancer to safeguard family-building options after cancer treatment. Leading-edge therapies like high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant and estrogen-blocking drug combinations for women with metastatic breast cancer save lives, but can lead to infertility.
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, TFC encourages you to tell a friend about the importance of early detection, and the option for fertility preservation when cancer is diagnosed. Contact Texas Fertility Center to learn more about fertility preservation.