It’s important to remember that the life-altering diagnosis of breast cancer doesn’t stop with treatment. Even when cancer is in remission, there may be permanent changes or side effects. Here is a list of breast cancer treatment side effects that your OB/GYN can help with.
Early menopause from breast cancer
Breast cancer treatment can cause early menopause and its associated symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. For younger patients, your period may come back, but for others this change may be permanent. Your doctor can provide treatments to help with the side effects. For vaginal dryness, your doctor can perform Mona Lisa touch laser therapy. This fast treatment can alleviate vaginal dryness and is recommended as a once a year procedure. You can also talk to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy to help with the other symptoms of early menopause, if medically indicated.
Infertility after breast cancer
Some breast cancer treatments may cause infertility or delayed infertility. The best time to talk to your doctor about fertility is before treatment begins when you can use options like egg freezing. However, there is still a chance of becoming pregnant post-treatment. Talk with your doctor about when it is safe to start trying—as a general rule, most recommend waiting two years before conceiving to see if the cancer comes back.
If you receive chemotherapy to combat your breast cancer, you might be at risk for osteoporosis. This bone loss can occur naturally but is also exasperated by radiation therapy. Talk with your doctor about bone density scans. They may have recommendations to help maintain healthy bone density.
Sexual function after breast cancer
Following your treatment, you may notice a decrease in sexual function, both in desire and with vaginal dryness. It’s important to have an open dialogue with your doctor about your emotional and physical barriers when it comes to having a healthy sex life after treatment. As mentioned before, there are laser treatments for vaginal dryness, along with lubricants and liquid lidocaine that can help with pain and dryness. Your doctor might also recommend hormone treatments or creams. If sex is uncomfortable, you can talk with your doctor about obtaining a vaginal dilator and how to use one. You can also ask if any of the medications you’re on might contribute to a lower sex drive.
Any More Questions or Concerns?
Call Bloom Ob/Gyn at 202-449-9570 or contact us to set up an appointment with one of our providers.