Medfem Supports World Cancer Day in February


Cancer takes a great deal from people, and for some, also their fertility and the ability to have their own biological children. Both cervical cancer and cancer treatments are known causes of infertility.

As World Cancer Day is celebrated in February, our team at Medfem would like to speak up and raise awareness of the following:

1. cervical cancer can be prevented and treated; and

2. you can preserve your fertility before receiving cancer treatment, so you can still have your own biological children in the future.


World Cancer Day is an initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). It was first observed on 4 February 2000 at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium in Paris. The Paris Charter aims to promote research, prevent cancer, improve patient services, raise awareness and mobilise the global community, including the adoption of World Cancer Day.

This is important work, because a staggering 10 million people die from cancer every year, even though at least one third of common cancers are preventable and another third can be cured if detected early and treated properly.

This year, the theme of #WorldCancerDay is #CloseTheCareGap. The reality is that 70% of cancer deaths occur in low-to-middle income countries where there is little or no access to medical care. Equitable access to cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care can save lives. You can find out more at

At Medfem, we support #CloseTheCareGap. Making world-class fertility treatments available for everyone is one of our team’s core guiding principles.

Cervical cancer can be prevented and treated

This year, the elimination of cervical cancer is under the spotlight for World Cancer Day and our team at Medfem also supports this vision.

The main cause of cervical cancer, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is a long-lasting infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that is sexually transmitted and is so common that at least half of sexually active people will have it at some point in their lives. It usually causes no symptoms and goes away on its own, but, if it does not, there is a chance that over time it may cause cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women in over 40 countries and each year, more than 300,000 women die from cervical cancer. An estimated 90% of all cervical cancer deaths occur in low- to middle-income countries, another example of the cancer care gap that needs to be closed.

For these reasons, it is crucial to raise awareness of the fact that cervical cancer can be prevented, detected and treated, easily and cost-effectively.

The impact of cervical cancer on your fertility also depends on the stage of the cancer and the treatment you receive.

Infertility issues can usually be avoided if the cervical cancer is diagnosed early and treatment is provided successfully. If cervical cancer is diagnosed at advanced stages, more extensive treatment is required, which can result in infertility.

For example, if the cancer is limited to small growths in the cervix, conization treatment or a cone biopsy may be suggested. In this procedure, the cancerous tissue is removed using a scalpel. Depending on the extent, you may still be able to conceive 6 months to a year after the procedure, but due to potential scarring of the cervix, you may have a higher risk of miscarriage or infertility.

If you have small tumors in the early stages of cervical cancer, a simple or radical trachelectomy may be used to remove most or all of the cervix, and even some of the surrounding tissue, such as the upper part of the vagina or nearby lymph nodes. You may still be able to conceive 6 to 12 months after the procedure.

However, if you need a hysterectomy, or if cancer treatments like chemotherapy or radiation are required, you need to consider ways to preserve your fertility before treatment commences.

You can preserve your fertility

Hysterectomy is surgery to remove the cervix and uterus. Following this treatment, you will not be able to conceive.

Some chemotherapy medicines and radiation treatments may destroy your eggs and/or damage your uterus, and this can lead to infertility.

Fortunately, thanks to advances in medical science, if these treatments are needed, women can preserve their fertility before treatment commences, by freezing their eggs or embryos. This will provide a possibility to conceive after the cancer treatment through IVF or other assisted reproduction techniques, and either carry the pregnancy if you still have your uterus or work with a surrogate.

Preserving female fertility

Fertility preservation for women refers to the process of freezing a woman’s eggs, her embryos, or, potentially, her ovarian tissue.

Egg freezing and storage is a realistic option today, thanks to a revolutionary technology called vitrification that is a new freezing technique. Vitrification freezes the eggs at a very fast rate, so that the eggs are preserved without the formation of damaging ice crystals.

At Medfem Fertility Clinic, we have years of experience in egg cryopreservation. This means that we are able to provide you with an expert medical opinion about your current and future reproductive potential as well as your eligibility for egg freezing.

The most proven and successful method of fertility preservation for women is embryo freezing – or embryo cryopreservation as it is also called. An embryo is an egg that has been fertilised by a sperm. At Medfem Fertility Clinic, we also use the modern freezing technology of vitrification to freeze embryos for later use. At a future time, a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) can be performed in a simple, short procedure.

Preserving male fertility

Male fertility can be harmed by the surgical removal of the testicles due to cancer or by chemotherapy or radiation that damages sperm quantity, quality and DNA, and can cause azoospermia.

Sperm can be frozen indefinitely, making sperm freezing and storing an effective method of preserving fertility for men. In the future the sperm, once thawed, can be placed in a female partner’s uterus using processes such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

In cases where there is no sperm, a testicular sperm extraction (TESE) can be offered as an alternative.

Has cancer affected your fertility?

If you are at high risk of cervical cancer, or if you have been diagnosed with cancer or if you are facing cancer treatment and feel concerned about the impact on your fertility, we would like to invite you to speak to one of our fertility specialists at Medfem Fertility Clinic.

At Medfem we believe in helping you reach your family dream through:

* World-Class Fertility for Everyone – we believe in making world-class fertility treatments available for everyone
* A Positive Fertility Journey – It is our joy and commitment to give you a positive outcome to your fertility journey
* Delivered With Empathy & Caring – So you may have a fond memory, of a feeling of empathy, caring and being part of the Medfem family

Simply click here to book an initial consultation or contact us telephonically on +27 (11) 463 2244.

We look forward to meeting you at Medfem Fertility Clinic!


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