Sperm Freezing for Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy
No matter who you are, a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. It is a life-changing, monumental moment that can turn your world upside down. It is normal to feel as if your life has completely spun out of control. The initial shock will fade, but the challenges – physical, emotional, and spiritual – that lay ahead can be just as overwhelming. This guide offers tips to develop a strategy to cope and manage with the illness, as well as answering common questions especially as relating to reproductive health.
I’ve just been diagnosed with cancer. What should I do?
The emotional shock of a cancer diagnosis is a lot to handle. Our natural instinct is to react and take immediate action. However, it’s important to take a moment to process the information you’ve just been told – then, you’ll be able to figure out your next steps.
- Ask your doctor how much time you have before making the decision to start treatment.
Don’t rush into treatment. Although sometimes it is necessary to start treatment as soon as possible, often it is not. In most cases, you’ll have time to think about where and when you go in for treatment. Take your time to think about a plan that’s appropriate for you, finding a team that you’re comfortable with, and evaluate different treatment options.
- Educate yourself.
Knowledge is power – studies have shown that patients who are more informed about their illness tend to handle side effects better than those who blindly follow doctor’s instructions. Being informed gives you measure of control over the situation, giving you a sense of empowerment that is beneficial to the healing process. Get organized – bring a binder or notebook to your appointments and collect any information pertaining to your case. Ask lots of questions, but at a pace you feel comfortable with.
- Establish a strong support system.
No one should go through a fight against cancer alone. Cancer treatment is a very emotionally taxing process – having someone you can talk openly with about serious issues will make the process that much easier. Bring someone with you to your appointments – your care team may share a lot of information, and it helps to have someone there to help remember it all and talk it through after your appointments.
- Get a second opinion.
Cancer is a complicated disease, and different doctors may choose to tackle it with different approaches. As a patient, you have a right to a second opinion, or even a third – it can help you better understand your situation and provide a sense of control. Some insurance companies will even require a second opinion.
- Ask for help.
A cancer diagnosis is daunting and can raise personal issues such as anxiety or depression. These feelings are normal. You can connect with other cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers that have been through the process. If you need to, don’t be afraid to seek professional help to deal with your emotions.
- Be your own advocate.
Take an active role in your medical decisions. You form a key part of the team that treats you. If something doesn’t seem right, speak up. If you’re not comfortable with the decisions being made, or if your doctor is unwilling to listen to your concerns, find someone that will work with you.
- Treat yourself right.
Eat well, exercise, and get good sleep as well as you can. These things are within your control, giving you a sense of empowerment and preparing your body to be as healthy as it can be.
- Get to know your insurance.
Although the cost of many standard cancer treatments has declined, some can still be incredibly expensive. Know the ins and outs of your insurance plan – if possible, talk to a social worker or financial planner with experience in the process that can walk you through how much of your treatment will be covered under your plan. There are many co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance costs that you may have to pay out of pocket. Find out what doctors or hospitals are in your network.
- Ask about new treatments or clinical trials that may be right for you.
Clinical trials can be explored very early on in treatment, and there’s trials for virtually every type of cancer currently ongoing. The decision to enter a trial may be complicated, but it’s worth discussing with your doctor.
- Figure out your options for the future – especially if you want to start a family.
Dealing with cancer can be an overwhelming experience, and it is often a good idea to take life one day at a time. However, the odds of beating cancer are better than ever. For example, the five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is 99%. Nonetheless, the side effects of cancer treatment can affect your fertility and your capability of fathering children . That’s why it’s important to consider all the options, including fertility preservation treatments. Simple interventions such as sperm freezing are increasingly common , and companies such as Legacy make this process easy and accessible.