What is cancer treatment?

What are some other tips to try if you have trouble speaking or swallowing after cancer treatments?

  • Make a rinse to keep your mouth from getting dry. Add 1 teaspoon baking soda and ½ teaspoon salt to a quart of water. Use it to rinse your mouth 4 to 6 times each day. Spit out the rinse. Don't swallow it.
  • Do not use a mouthwash or any other over-the-counter rinse that contains alcohol. These can dry out your mouth or cause more pain. Ask your doctor about other oral gels, lubricants, and mouthwashes that you might use.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Drinking through a straw may help with pain.
  • Practice good oral hygiene. Use a very soft toothbrush to brush your teeth. You could also use a soft cloth. When your mouth is dry, you are more likely to get tooth decay or have other dental problems.

How can you manage infertility from cancer treatment?

Some treatments for cancer can cause infertility in both men and women. Also, cancer treatment in children may affect their future fertility. Infertility from cancer treatment may be temporary or permanent.

Whether or not your cancer treatment will affect your fertility depends on many things, such as how many radiation treatments you get or the type of chemotherapy you have.

Before you begin your cancer treatment, talk to your doctor to find out if your fertility could be affected. Your doctor may refer you to a fertility specialist. If preserving fertility is a concern for you, knowing your options can help you know what to decide.

Men

Options to help preserve fertility in men may include:

  • Banking sperm (freezing and storing sperm for use in the future) before having any cancer treatment.
  • Having the testicles shielded during radiation therapy.

During treatment, use birth control. Radiation to the testicles and some chemotherapy can damage sperm and cause birth defects. If you are having chemotherapy, you need to use a condom during sex because your semen may contain chemotherapy medicines. Also, your partner may need to use birth control.

After treatment, it may take some time to find out if you are fertile. If you have very low sperm counts or if treatment has caused problems with ejaculation, you still may be able to father a child using assisted reproductive technologies.

Women

Options to help preserve fertility in women may include:

  • Embryo banking (freezing and storing embryos for use in the future) before having any cancer treatment.
  • Having the ovaries shielded during radiation therapy.
  • Having surgery to move the ovaries out of the radiation-affected area of the body.
  • Banking eggs or ovarian tissue (this is still experimental).
  • Protecting the egg supply in other ways, such as by shutting down the pituitary gland.

During treatment, if you have not gone through menopause, you (or your partner) will need to use birth control. Getting pregnant during treatment should be avoided. Cancer treatments can harm a developing baby (fetus).

Children

If your child has cancer, talk to the doctor to find out whether treatment will affect your child's future fertility. This is important even for young children who have cancer. If treatment could affect your child's fertility, ask the doctor to recommend a fertility specialist. This specialist can work with your child's medical team to try to preserve fertility.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.