Help with cancer and fertility issues

Some questions about cancer, cancer treatment and fertility issues can be addressed straight away. Others may not become relevant until you consider starting a family. Then there’s the way you might feel about your situation from one day to the next. In short, there is no rulebook for when you might need support, advice and information.  

It’s worth knowing where you can turn for help at any time - not just for medical issues concerning fertility but emotional support

Your cancer care team

If you’re on cancer treatment, or having follow-up care, the team responsible for your care can address any questions you may have concerning cancer and the impact on your fertility. They’ll understand what you’re going through, and can help with any concern you may have. 

Your doctor

Your GP is responsible not just for your physical health but also your mental wellbeing. At any time, during treatment and beyond, you can turn to your doctor for information and advice about any fertility issue, as well any thoughts or feelings you’re finding difficult to deal with as a result of your experience. They should also be your first port of call should you consider starting a family, as they’ll be aware of your situation and can advise you on the options available. 

Books, leaflets and online resources

This can be an effective way to get information and facts. The key is to be sure you can trust your sources to be accurate and balanced. For peace of mind, if you find a resource that answers your questions then check it out with your care team, doctor or other medical professional. 

Online communities & local support groups

Connecting with people who have been through a similar experience can be an empowering way of making sense of your own situation. From message boards to meetings, there’s no need to feel as if you have to open up about what you’ve been through. Often, just listening to others can be helpful.

Your partner, family and friends

As well as establishing sources of medical support, it’s good to have people around you who care for your emotional wellbeing. Your partner, trusted friends or close family members can provide a vital source of support. Even if they can’t provide instant answers, they’ll stand by you and help you deal with whatever’s on your mind.

Counselling

This is a talking therapy that some people consider to help them manage difficult feelings. It can help you to deal with any issues you may have in confidence, at any time and provide strategies to help you come to terms with your situation. Different forms of counselling are available to suit your needs, such as psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), as well as counsellors specialising in fertility issues. Relationship therapy enables couples to address any issues together.

Supporting yourself

Fertility issues can affect people in different ways and at different times. Building an effective support network means you know who to turn to for information and support when you need it.

This means making sure that you’ve got people around you who really understand who you are, not just physically and emotionally but on any level that’s important to you.

From work colleagues to community workers or religious leaders, the key is to feel sure they understand what you’re going through, put your welfare first at every opportunity, and recognise that everyone within your network shares the same goal: to help you come to terms with your situation and feel happy and fulfilled.

Useful organisations

For objective and reliable information on all aspects of fertility preservation treatment, and to search for fertility clinics, visit the website of this government agency:

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)

http://www.hfea.gov.uk/ 

To learn more about freezing ovary tissue:

Future Fertility Trust 

http://www.futurefertilitytrustuk.org

For more detailed facts about fertility and different types of cancer:

Cancer Research UK

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org 

Macmillan Cancer Support

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/ 

Breast Cancer Care

https://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/ 

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

https://www.jostrust.org.uk 

Eve Appeal (womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vaginal cancers)

https://eveappeal.org.uk

Orchid (testicular and other male cancers)

https://orchid-cancer.org.uk 

For information about fertility preservation treatments:

British Fertility Society

https://britishfertilitysociety.org.uk

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

http://www.hfea.gov.uk

For information and support with fertility issues: 

British Infertility Counselling Association 

http://bica.net/

Infertility Network UK

http://www.infertilitynetworkuk.com/

For information on fostering,adoption and surrogacy:  

Adoption UK

http://www.adoptionuk.org/

Gov.UK

https://www.gov.uk/foster-carers/becoming-a-foster-carer

Surrogacy UK

https://www.surrogacyuk.org/

Published: December 2016
Review due: December 2019 

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