A 31-year-old cancer survivor is calling for fertility experts to be involved in treatment plans when dealing with a cancer patient
Becki McGuinness was diagnosed with spine and sacrum cancer ten years ago, but did not get any advice on the possible loss of her fertility at the time.
She told The Metro she went through six months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and thankfully made a full recovery – with one devastating factor.
Once treatment had been completed she began the early menopause.
“I was warned that there was a chance I could become infertile, but not to worry about it as it doesn’t happen to everyone,” says Becki. “I was never told to watch out for certain symptoms that were early menopause signs, I was told if you get hot flushes you may be going through it. There needs to be a specialist nurse who knows about cancer and fertility too.”
It wasn’t until much later when Becki met a gynaecologist that she was told her fertility could have been saved – a hugely upsetting revelation.
She said: “It doesn’t feel like they see the whole person, what you will lose and how it will affect you, by the time I was told I had cancer I was told I had ‘no time’ to save my fertility – but they were talking over a month in my case.”
For years she was too upset to talk about her experience, but two years ago she launched the Vicious Cycle campaign.
She wants fertility consultants to be involved much sooner once a patient has been diagnosed with cancer and fertility preservation to be an active part of any treatment plan.
She said: “At the time I had cancer in 2008 no one was hardly talking about it let alone offering emotional support for going through it or the chance of losing your fertility,” she says.
“That isn’t the worst bit, even though I actively asked my oncologist, I wanted to preserve my fertility and my mum rang around fertility clinics as we had enough time to preserve but time ran out for me.”
Have you had a similar experience? What is your story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org