Motherhood after breast cancer: Searching for la dolce vita

Hatem A. Azim, Fedro A. Peccatori, Evandro De Azambuja, Martine J. Piccart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Advances in the field of adjuvant therapy in breast cancer have led to significant improvements in breast cancer survival. This has resulted in a progressive decline in breast cancer-related mortality, such that in 2010 there were estimated to be 400,000 breast cancer survivors under the age of 40 in the USA. Hence, enquiry into the feasibility of fertility preservation, subsequent pregnancy and breastfeeding is increasingly encountered. Fertility counseling remains suboptimal in breast cancer clinics, and there is a wide perception that pregnancy could worsen the prognosis of young breast cancer survivors, despite the lack of evidence supporting this notion. In addition, fertility preservation by means of embryo or oocyte cryopreservation requires ovarian stimulation, which is associated with a significant rise in estradiol levels and might delay initiation of therapy. All these factors, and others, have influenced the quality of fertility counseling offered to young breast cancer patients. In this article, we will critically analyze the available clinical and biological evidence on the safety and feasibility of pregnancy and breastfeeding following breast cancer. In addition, we will discuss the different fertility-preservation techniques available for these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-298
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Review of Anticancer Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • breastfeeding after breast cancer
  • fertility counseling
  • fertility preservation
  • pregnancy after breast cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Oncology


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