Family Matters

Breast Cancer and having babies

Re-post from Relationships: Frequent lurker, occasional poster here. I'll try and keep this brief but I'm 28 years old, married for 3 years in May. My DH and I have started talking about kids and I'm curious what the rest of you might do in this situation. My mom comes from a family of 5 girls and two of my aunts have had breast cancer in their 50's (making the time I should begin annual mammograms my 40's). Research shows women who have babies before age 30 reduce their risk of breast cancer. The women in my family have a history of struggling to conceive. One aunt (one that had breast cancer) never did, my parents were on the adoption list when they had me (after 5 years of trying) and another aunt had one child after many miscarriages. I realize there are no guarantees in life but if you were me, with this family history and my age, would you TTC sooner rather than later? Financially we would certainly have to re-structure but we are by no means struggling (decent house, no credit card debt, one, manageable car payment). I'd love to know the thoughts of complete and total strangers :) 

Re: Breast Cancer and having babies

  • This is a matter of personal choice and what you and your H want to do.

    3 years is enough "legs" for your marriage to stand on, if no problems between you and your H have developed.

    Discuss this at length with your H and take your time deciding. Even if you spent a year discussing whether or not to start having kids soon, you'd be 29 if you decided to go ahead with a family.

    There's also the option of adopting an older kiddo --- lots of kids that are older than toddler age need a home. Food for thought. GL.:)
  • Thanks for the feedback but adoption isn't going to help reduce my chances of breast cancer. With all the struggles the women in my family have gone through trying to conceive, I'm wondering if I should start now assuming it might take a while.
  • Do you want a child? Or do  you want to reduce your risk of breast cancer?

    Sorry, hit send too soon.

    If you want a baby, make your plans and have however many. I would not rely on having a child to significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer, however; women who have children get it all the time, and it's not going to even out the increased familial tendency.Since you believe you are at higher risk, talk to your obgyn about what kind of early screening etc you can have (before age forty) and whether genetic testing is right for you. Also, take other steps to avoid breast cancer; like losing weight, daily exercise, etc.

     

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  • image Sue_sue:

    Do you want a child? Or do  you want to reduce your risk of breast cancer?

     

    Both :)

    But I get what you're saying - no, I would not have a child just to reduce my chances of getting breast cancer. But, would I have a child at age 28/29 versus 32+ if I knew it would help reduce my chances? I'm considering it since I don't believe I have any major accomplishments to complete in the next 5 years that a child would prevent me from doing. The family history of trouble conceiving is also an issue. If it takes us 5 years, I might want to know that now. 

  • And seriously; family history of struggling to conceive does not mean you will have any difficulty. Stress also is a risk factor for a number of cancers, and there is nothing more stressful than a baby you cannot afford.

     

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  • image Sue_sue:

    And seriously; family history of struggling to conceive does not mean you will have any difficulty. Stress also is a risk factor for a number of cancers, and there is nothing more stressful than a baby you cannot afford.

     

     I totally agree and I certainly don't loose sleep over an ambiguous "might be" out there.  

  • Have you had the BRCA testing>? If you are so worried that would be my first step.
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  • image magsugar13:
    Have you had the BRCA testing>? If you are so worried that would be my first step.
    This.  If you're seriously worried about breast cancer in terms of genetics, this is the avenue to take.  This, of course, doesn't mean you might not get breast cancer (or any kind) "out of the blue."

    Don't have a baby to reduce your odds.  Not fair to the child, to you, or to your relationship with the child.   

  • image JoEsther:

    image magsugar13:
    Have you had the BRCA testing>? If you are so worried that would be my first step.
    This.  If you're seriously worried about breast cancer in terms of genetics, this is the avenue to take.  This, of course, doesn't mean you might not get breast cancer (or any kind) "out of the blue."

    Don't have a baby to reduce your odds.  Not fair to the child, to you, or to your relationship with the child.   

    I'm not having a baby JUST to reduce my odds. It's not as if I have no plans to have a baby or that I'm not in a stable relationship. It's just a matter of choosing to have one now rather than later if one of the added bonus' is that I reduce my chances of getting breast cancer.

    No, I have not be tested for the gene but you're right that it should be the next step. One of my aunts was tested for the gene and it was negative (although I realize that doesn't mean I am negative). I actually brought this up with my Dr. a couple months ago - family history of cancer - and was actually a little disappointed she didn't suggest I get tested.

  • You dont need your dr's approval to get tested. Go and tell her you want ot get tested, do not let her talk you out of it.
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  • image jmbernadette:
    image JoEsther:

    image magsugar13:
    Have you had the BRCA testing>? If you are so worried that would be my first step.
    This.  If you're seriously worried about breast cancer in terms of genetics, this is the avenue to take.  This, of course, doesn't mean you might not get breast cancer (or any kind) "out of the blue."

    Don't have a baby to reduce your odds.  Not fair to the child, to you, or to your relationship with the child.   

    I'm not having a baby JUST to reduce my odds. It's not as if I have no plans to have a baby or that I'm not in a stable relationship. It's just a matter of choosing to have one now rather than later if one of the added bonus' is that I reduce my chances of getting breast cancer.

    No, I have not be tested for the gene but you're right that it should be the next step. One of my aunts was tested for the gene and it was negative (although I realize that doesn't mean I am negative). I actually brought this up with my Dr. a couple months ago - family history of cancer - and was actually a little disappointed she didn't suggest I get tested.

    Infertility is not necessarily inheritted, and miscarriages are definitely not.

    My internet stranger input would be not to have a baby right now, only because you don't sound very enthused about it.

    Also, at any age, breastfeeding mothers have a lower chance of developing breast cancer as well. This is more effective if done for at least one and a half to two years, and if you plan on having more than one child, each subsequent child also lowers your risk. Just wanted to give you food for thought if breastfeeding was something that you wanted to and were able to do.

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  • I vote for having a child whenever you and your husband deem it the appropriate timeframe to do so.  The rest of the "benefits" are immaterial unless you're ready to be a parent.  Frankly, I'd take the whole possibility of reduction of breast cancer out of the equation entirely.
  • image jmbernadette:

    Re-post from Relationships: Frequent lurker, occasional poster here. I'll try and keep this brief but I'm 28 years old, married for 3 years in May. My DH and I have started talking about kids and I'm curious what the rest of you might do in this situation. My mom comes from a family of 5 girls and two of my aunts have had breast cancer in their 50's (making the time I should begin annual mammograms my 40's).

    Given that your aunts likely had breast CA post-menopause, your risk is lower than if they developed it in their 20's or 30's. It's also possible that there is no "family tendency" but rather just the unlucky odds of 2 of 5 sisters ending up the "one in eight". My mother is one of 7 sisters; two have had breast CA post-menopausally. One was DCIS (which some don't even consider really CA) and the other has an estrogen sensitive CA. After the second dx, they underwent genetic testing and were found to be neg. which means I likely don't carry the genetic predisposition.

    Research shows women who have babies before age 30 reduce their risk of breast cancer.

    Do you know the absolute difference? The number of women/1000 who were spared breast CA because they had children before 30? Do you realize that 30 isn't a line in the sand; that the risk is lower for a teenage mom than it is for a woman who squeaks in the week before she turns 30?

    Research also shows that breastfeeding for 18+ months will reduce the risk. Are you on board with that? And that abstaining from alcohol will as well. Diet and weight play into this as well. But the bottom line is, the risk doesn't matter as much as your personal incidence wihich is either 0% or 100%.

    The women in my family have a history of struggling to conceive. One aunt (one that had breast cancer) never did, my parents were on the adoption list when they had me (after 5 years of trying) and another aunt had one child after many miscarriages.

    Their reproductive hx has no bearing on yours. In fact women who experience routine early pregnancy losses are at a reduced risk, according to some researchers, because the estrogen levels are often lower than normal.

     I realize there are no guarantees in life but if you were me, with this family history and my age, would you TTC sooner rather than later? Financially we would certainly have to re-structure but we are by no means struggling (decent house, no credit card debt, one, manageable car payment). I'd love to know the thoughts of complete and total strangers :) 

    Have the baby when you are ready. In the meantime, talk to your doc about testing. If your aunts were neg, likely it's not a familial trait and your risk would be more in line with someone without a family hx with your individual life style risks.

     

     

  • Dh and I did just that but I had no issues conceiving or carrying babies.  I don't regret it, but just because someone in your family had fertility issues doesn't mean you will.  
  • image SirSleepsALot:
    Dh and I did just that but I had no issues conceiving or carrying babies.  I don't regret it, but just because someone in your family had fertility issues doesn't mean you will.  

    Edit:  I was 31 when my first was born, but was worried about fertility etc. so we got pregnant 5 months after our weddibg.  We both wanted kids and didn't want to wait a long time, but for me that fear def. played into the the timing. 

  • I'd have a child when and if you're ready for one.  I wouldn't worry too much about factoring in a family history of fertility issues or reducing your breast cancer risk.  Neither makes enough of a difference, IMO, to be a factor in a decision as big as if/when to start a family.

    I have no family history of infertility at all and it still took 12 months (and initial fertility testing) to conceive my first, and 9 months to conceive my second.  I know many women with family histories who were able to conceive right away.

    As for breast cancer, every woman I know who had it conceived their first child prior to age 30, whether there was a family history of cancer or not.

    Adding a child to a marriage is a huge life change.  Don't rush it for something hypothetical.  Good luck!

  • if you look hard enough you can find a statistic to support any theory.

    the fact is that people get or don't get sick only has somewhat to do with heredity. imo you run just as much of a chance now as later. and you'll never know anyway.

    what does your dh think about all of this?

     

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  • My mom died of breast cancer when I was 6; every other woman to whom I am related has had it, and one of them has died as well.

    I didn't have the option of having babies before 30, and had my first at 34. IMO, there are too many "what-ifs" to base this decision on one thing. You should start trying for a baby when both you and your DH are emotionally and financially ready.

    You may get breast cancer tomorrow. You may never get it.

  •  "If it takes us 5 years, I might want to know that now."

    You can't know how long it will take.  You may get pregnant immediately, never, or somewhere in between.  You and your DH should make the decision to TTC based on whether you are ready to become parents now.  But also consider how you would feel if you were infertile and what options you would consider in the future if that were the case, including possible adoption.  Forget the family history and breast cancer concerns and base your decision on readiness to be a parent. 

  • image -auntie-:
    image jmbernadette:

    Re-post from Relationships: Frequent lurker, occasional poster here. I'll try and keep this brief but I'm 28 years old, married for 3 years in May. My DH and I have started talking about kids and I'm curious what the rest of you might do in this situation. My mom comes from a family of 5 girls and two of my aunts have had breast cancer in their 50's (making the time I should begin annual mammograms my 40's).

    Given that your aunts likely had breast CA post-menopause, your risk is lower than if they developed it in their 20's or 30's. It's also possible that there is no "family tendency" but rather just the unlucky odds of 2 of 5 sisters ending up the "one in eight". My mother is one of 7 sisters; two have had breast CA post-menopausally. One was DCIS (which some don't even consider really CA) and the other has an estrogen sensitive CA. After the second dx, they underwent genetic testing and were found to be neg. which means I likely don't carry the genetic predisposition.

    Research shows women who have babies before age 30 reduce their risk of breast cancer.

    Do you know the absolute difference? The number of women/1000 who were spared breast CA because they had children before 30? Do you realize that 30 isn't a line in the sand; that the risk is lower for a teenage mom than it is for a woman who squeaks in the week before she turns 30?

    Research also shows that breastfeeding for 18+ months will reduce the risk. Are you on board with that? And that abstaining from alcohol will as well. Diet and weight play into this as well. But the bottom line is, the risk doesn't matter as much as your personal incidence wihich is either 0% or 100%.


    I agree with this, I can't tell if you're being a drama queen, a martyr, or a hypochondriac.  My Mom wad diagnosed with breast cancer at a young-ish age and died at a young-ish age which technically places me more at risk; she didn't have any sisters who could get cancer so no clue on that end of the risk factor.  There are many types of breast cancer; some more genetically high risk than others.  How things like having a child before 30 affect that risk can depend greatly on the type of cancer.  I'm careful to live pretty cleanly; eating healthy, exercising, not drinking like a fish but that's for general health reasons not just cancer related ones.  I suggested to you in your other post that you consult with a cancer risk specialist as well as a fertility specialist if you really feel you're at risk for cancer of infertility.

    Personally, I refuse to let my entire life or major decisions be governed by the fact that I may have a higher risk of developing a certain type of breast cancer at some point in my life.  It's one of a lot of risk affecting decisions I make every day, like what route to take to work, what type of car to drive, how long to sit in the sun, whether or not to eat a cheeseburger.  I'm not sure why you're looking to attenuated maybe medical situations to force your hand on whether or not to have a baby; I think you either want one and want to justify why, or are on the fence and feel like its easier to make the decision on something other than whether you can and want to raise a baby.  That should be the overriding factor, have a baby if you want one and can afford emotionally and financially to take care of it now.  If not, wait until you're ready.

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  • It sounds like you're looking for a lot of excuses to go ahead and have a baby.  If you want one, own it and do it.
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