19 de October, 2023

Breast cancer and fertility

Many people may be familiar with the efforts of promoting breast cancer awareness during its commemorative month,  however, a lesser-explored aspect of the disease is its effect on reproductive health and vice-versa, our reproductive history may give us hints of risk factors that influence the propensity to develop this type of cancer, let’s keep in mind that even though women are statistically most propense, this disease affects both women and men.

Risk factors

There are several propensity factors for developing breast cancer, both controllable and uncontrollable:

  • Reproductive health history: Women who began their menstrual cycle before the age of 12, as well as those who began their menopause after the age of 55.
  • Family history: A family history of ovarian or breast cancer among 1st degree family members.
  • Age: This disease affects women of all ages, and sometimes even men, however, women over 50 years of age are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Lack of physical activity: Being physically active can prevent developing breast cancer
  • Reproductive history: Women who had their first pregnancy after the age of 30, as well as women who did not breastfeed, and even women who struggled or failed to bring a pregnancy to term are at a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
  • Drinking alcohol: A woman’s risk of developing breast cancer can be increased by their alcohol intake.

Prolactin’s role

Prolactin is a hormone produced by both men and women, it is associated with the development breast growth and lactation, however new studies have suggested that there is a relationship between prolactin production and the development of breast cancer.

At Ingenes, part of the evaluations of the reproductive health of our patients includes a measurement of prolactin levels, that serves as an important fertility indicator. Keeping in mind that this hormone alone cannot provide a final diagnosis, but it provides relevant information to understand the state of the ovarian reserves.

 Maybe you like this article: How to know my ovarian reserve?

Chemotherapy’s side effects on fertility

It is important to know that chemotherapy is a common cause of infertility, so it is not uncommon to encounter cancer patients and survivors who wish to learn more about the various treatment and fertility options available.

Breast self-examination and annual check-ups

Performing routine self-examinations is a recommendable habit, according to the self-examination manuals created by the Mexican Institute of Social Security, these should be carried out 7 days after menstruation, it is important to create a routine and become acquainted with our bodies in order to identify any abnormalities in a timely manner, in addition to this, it is advisable to start an annual breast cancer screening by mastography at 40 years of age, however, if there is a family history of breast cancer, it is advisable to begin screening at 30 years of age.

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