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Breast Cancer Awareness and Fertility Preservation

Tulsa Fertility Center Celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness All Year

A woman with breast cancer is wearing a pink ribbon on her blouse and has a pink bandana around her head. She is hopeful and is smiling while looking at the camera.October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the physicians and staff at Tulsa Fertility Center encourage our patients to learn more about breast cancer. All of our skilled physicians trained as ob/gyns before becoming fertility specialists, and we remind women to see their ob/gyn on an annual basis for wellness visits and to start having annual mammograms at age 40 (some women with higher risk may need to begin testing at a younger age).

Work with Your Ob/Gyn to Determine Risk Factors

You should consult your ob/gyn to assess your risk factors for developing breast cancer. Knowing your risk, along with annual exams and mammograms, leads to early detection. Detecting breast cancer in its early, localized stage results in a 98% five-year survival rate.

These factors increase your risk of developing breast cancer:

  • Age (your risk increases after age 40)
  • Family history (having a mother, daughter or sister with breast cancer, for example)
  • Having a BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation
  • Previous occurrence of breast cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness Should Include Fertility Preservation Awareness

If you do receive a breast cancer diagnosis, part of your treatment planning process should include working with Tulsa Fertility Center for fertility preservation. Our fertility specialists will work with your oncologist to devise a plan that will safeguard your fertility for future family planning.

There are several options, and fertility preservation treatment will vary with each patient. We often use cryopreservation to preserve unfertilized eggs (oocytes) or embryos, saving them for future attempts to achieve a pregnancy (if a woman has hormone-sensitive tumors or estrogen positive breast cancer, she may need to discuss methods of fertility preservation that do not involve ovarian stimulation).

  • During oocyte cryopreservation, unfertilized eggs are harvested, frozen and stored for future use. This is a good option for younger women and women who are not ready to have children.
  • Women who are in a relationship may want to consider embryo cryopreservation. During this process, your partner’s (or donor’s) sperm is combined with your eggs to create embryo(s) that we can freeze and preserve.
  • There are new fertility preservation treatments on the horizon, including a hormone-blocking drug that puts women into a state of temporary menopause. This drug makes it less likely for women receiving chemotherapy treatments to experience ovarian failure.¹

You can rest assured that Tulsa Fertility Center will provide you with the most up-to-date fertility preservation techniques and advice. As physicians, we are dedicated to women’s health and well-being. We recognize Breast Cancer Awareness month every October, and pledge to raise awareness all year on behalf of our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. We invite you to join us in these efforts!

¹ http://www.cancer.gov/newscenter/newsfromnci/2014/ASCOPOEMS