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Avatar universal

Fertility drugs and breast cancer


I received my updated mamm results yesterday--microcalcifications. None of them are clustered but they're concerned since they're so many. I have to go back in 6 months for a follow up and possible biopsy. My husband and I are starting infertility treatments. My question is will any of these drugs---clomid and others, increase the chances of these microcalcifications to turn to cancer?
9 Responses
326352 tn?1310997895
I took Follistim and Progesterone before I found out I had cancer.  I cannot say or directly relate the cancer to the infertility treatments.  I had other indicators such as very dense breasts, fibroids, history of cancer in my immediate family, late in having my babies (35) and had one miscarriage very early in my life (19).

This is my opinion....  as long as someone is watching your "calcifications" closely for changes, go ahead and start fertility treatments.  The pregnancy can be a blessing for you personally as it was for me, even when I found out I had cancer.  I wouldn't wish that scenario on anyone, but if you find out you have cancer while pregnant, I think you are more concerned with keeping your pregnancy healthy and therefore keep yourself healthy and more upbeat during treatment.

Do you have any other indicators for breast cancer?  You can't let the possibility of cancer put off or prevent you from going forward with the rest of your life.  If we all did that, then we just might as well build our coffins and crawl in.  So, go try to have that baby, don't worry about the breast issue, let the experts keep an eye on that.  Do check yourself for lumps (which you will anyway when you do get pregnant and start to get milk, ha ha )...  Go forward with life confident that you and hubby are going to be blessed in whatever manner is in the plans for you.  And for me, the cancer was a strange blessing, but it was a blessing, as were my two pretty little girls.

Can I ask what are your fertility issues?  If I can be of any assistance of info or hope that sometimes things do work, holler at me.  I can indeed say I've been in both boats.

Lastly, if you haven't gotten an RE in your list of docs, start looking now.  They can be invaluable for information and assistance, more so than an OB that does infertility.  Also been there, and I LOVE my OB.  He just couldn't help us.  Also find you a good breast surgeon that you like and have a good rapor with.  You might have to use him/her.  Never hurts to have a good crew of docs who know you and who understand what your life goals are.

Good luck to you on the pregnancy.  Baby dust to ya!
216614 tn?1195668672
Can you talk them into doing the biopsy now?  I don't know if the drugs can create problems, but my concern would be the increase in hormones during pregnancy which could bring it on quicker if it is, indeed, cancerous.  I have been impressed with Lisa and her journey since I first read it...however, I think that you should discuss this with your doctors...gyn, breast, onc....and get all the facts and make your decision based on that.
Avatar universal
Thank you both for the feedback.

I know I seemed really parnoid over non-clustered calcifications, it was just scary to go into that back room and see all of the charts up and knew that it wasn't going to be perfect news.

I'm adopted so I don't know my history but my adopted mom has stage IV breast cancer that went ignored for 2 years so I'm sure that's what is scaring me. I do have fibrocystic breasts and had 1 cyst aspirated in my right breast last year.

My infertility issues seem to be hormonal. My RE is guessing I barely ovulate or ovulate too early. It's hard to tell right now. I have a left ovarian cyst that is being a big pain in the butt so we're waiting on starting our first round of clomid + IUI - 3 rounds, then if it doesn't work, I'm taking a break in the summer and restarting IVF in the fall. If I don't get pregnant with hte 3 rounds, then the 6 month follow up falls in line with me taking off. I am going to talk with my RE about the calcifications to because I would like to hear his side of things as well.

All of this is just so overwhelming. I feel like I"m going on 80 with all these doctors, tests, medical issues, etc. But you're right, I don't want something of a big maybe stop my life.

Thank you.
326352 tn?1310997895
Here's a thought, now knowing more of what you are facing.... have you considered egg donors?  Since you may or may not ovulate (to be seen), that could be a possibility for you to carry a child and not go through some of the fertility drugs that overstimulate the ovaries to get some eggs.  We used donor sperm with IUI since we had male issues along with female issues.  The only thing with egg donors is you have to use IVF, there's just no cheap way of doing that.

There is a fertility forum here that talks a lot about fertility issues and such if you haven't checked it out.  Lots of women doing clomid.  I went straight to follistim.  I guess it depends on your RE and your age.

Yes, having all these docs does make you feel much older than you should be!!!  Ok, here's some statistics from when I was pregnant with cancer (this is a few years old, though)...  1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage (I won that one), 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer (I won that one), 1 in 1000 pregnancies will be complicated by some form of cancer (I won that one, too!).  1 in 2 women will have some issue with fertility whether that is primary or secondary issues (well, we both win that one).  Statistically I'm a nightmare or a winner, either way.

You might think this is funny, but I wouldn't let my breast surgeon do anything without the approval of my RE and my OB!  Oh, I think he hated that.  But I was like you, I wanted to hear all sides before I made a decision.  And I walked into the surgeon's office to announce that we were pregnant and he would not do anything to disrupt that.  Although he did suggest (I guess he had to) that it would be better to terminate especially since I was still in the first trimester (and I was stage III with a really aggressive form of cancer).  I wouldn't even discuss it.

Best of luck on the pregnancies, and I hope your calcifications stay just that.
Most welcome, let us know if we can help or send up a few prayers for ya.
Avatar universal
Thank you. I have been on the fertility forum for a while :) This and that board are great people and very helpful. I'm so very sorry to hear all the stuff you went through. I don't know how you stayed so strong. You're amazing. Good luck with everything in your life and wish you nothing but peace and happiness.

As for donor, since I didn't get to speak with the doc yet (going in for an ultrasound this week sometime to check on the cyst) I can tell him about  the calcifications, etc and see what he says. I will say I need to stop looking at the internet. Stereostatic breast biopsies are horrible machines. It's not right that anyone should go through that and worse.
326352 tn?1310997895
Take hubby, have him hold your hand.  I was scared spitless, did not want to have a biopsy.  It hurt like the devil, and I remember the doc saying something like "three samples is good, but I really would like four" and I think I replied "you'd better get what you want now, we're not doing this again!"

After it was over, I felt much better, only a little bruising where they did the biopsy.

It's probably a good thing they had to take my breast, I would not want to do that again.  I just pray the good boob stays that way and frankenboobie stays healthy, too.  Yes, I nicknamed my reconstructed boob.  :)  Gotta have some sense of humor in all this.
Avatar universal
I"m guessing they just do a local lidocaine injection? I had that w/ my FNA and they had to get my twice since locals hardly work on me. Why can't they just give us a good ol general anesthetic? I know, I know...risks, bla bla bla. But my one and only surgery taught me well that general anesthesia is a godsend.

Hahhah I too call it frankenboobie. :)

I'm hoping no biopsy since my calcifications are say 3 O'clock and 7 O'clock.
326352 tn?1310997895
You call it frankenboobie????  That's just too funny!  Or as my eldest daughter says "that tickles me!"

Lumpy was found while breastfeeding.  What's that they say about breastfeeding being beneficial to prevent breast cancer????  ha ha ha ha  Lumpy went from pencil eraser size in March to 5 cm by Labor Day.  All while breastfeeding baby #1 born the previous September.

My frankenboobie is now totally reconstructed.  Looks pretty good and gets better looking as time goes on.  It's been almost a year since my tram (April 30th) reconstruction.  Nice tummy tuck along with a lift.  So, some good things do come from breast cancer.  My little Lauren was a Godsend.  God gave me everything I needed during that time, although he could have let my Dad hang around to see his namesake.  But, that wasn't in the plans for reasons that became known later.

And perhaps that's why I'm not at all against pregnancy and the risk of potential cancer.  There are risks, guaranteed, but pregnancy is risky anyway.  Shoot, life is risky.  :)

So sorry to hear about your cyst.  I guess I was lucky I had just plain ole endo on the uterus and some on the other organs, but no cysts and nothing on an ovary.  I do hope you get good info from your docs and are encouraged by your situation.  Remember anything you have to do to get a baby is JUST TEMPORARY.  Anything you have to do to get over cancer (should that be your course) is JUST TEMPORARY.  Nothing in life is ever guaranteed, but *most* of the time your suffering is JUST TEMPORARY.  Ok, the tattoo I now have is permanent along with some rather interesting scars.

That is, until you get your baby and sleep deprivation...that's not temporary!  :)  Sleep???  What's that?

And yes, they use a local for the biopsy.  I sure hope you don't need one either.  I'll say a prayer for you and wish my baby dust to ya.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much. You are right in all counts and I try not to have these set backs become major set backs in life. They're nothing compared to what life can offer us.

I'm glad everything turned out well for you in the end. Stay strong.
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