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Cancer and Motherhood

  • By: Gayle A. Sulik
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Every year, 700,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cancer. Excluding skin cancers, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women. In 2008, the American Cancer Society projected over 182,000 new cases. Although 80 percent of these cases were in women over age 50, nearly 33,000 diagnosed women were under the age of 45. Younger women with breast cancer face some issues that older women do not. In addition to frequently having more advanced cancers at diagnosis and higher mortality rates, these women potentially face infertility, early menopause, and implications for pregnancy after diagnosis. They are also likely to have dependent children and a greater responsibility for family care.

Cancer Treatment and Fertility

Several common cancer treatments affect women's fertility, the ability to ...

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