Concerns around sex, fertility often ignored in breast cancer care

Two-thirds of women whose breast cancer was diagnosed before age 45 said it had significant impacts on their sexual health.

(Cara Murez/ Medical XPress) — Shehzin Tietjen was 27 years old when she felt a lump in one of her breasts while in the shower.

That discovery led to a confirmation of breast cancer, an unexpected jolt at her age. “I was really shocked,” said Tietjen, who lives in Atlanta.

Though breast cancer is more common in postmenopausal women, about 9% of new breast cancer cases occur in women under 45. Many breast cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, can affect fertility.

While Tietjen soon began talking with doctors about preserving her fertility, that’s not a conversation all young women with a similar diagnosis have, according to a survey of more than 700 breast cancer patients by Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC), a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit. (…)