Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer - patients and their parents, family members, and friends.Learn More
Some medical tests and treatments can severely harm an unborn child and cause birth defects.
Young women are starting their menstrual periods at younger ages. Some medical treatments delay the age you start your period. For these reasons, it is important to give pregnancy tests starting at the age of 10 years.
Some treatments and tests can harm an unborn child, such as:
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) works to help keep women safe when they are pregnant and taking medications. The FDA put medications into five groups (known as categories A, B, C, D, and X). The group letters tell you how much the medicine could harm an unborn child. If you are pregnant, there are two types of medicines you should know about:
"D" medicines might harm an unborn child. If you are pregnant and have a serious disease, the chance that the medicine will help you is more than the risk of harming your child. Your doctor will talk with you and help you decide if taking the medicine is worth the risk.
Tell your care team if you have had sex within the last nine months. They will do a pregnancy test. You need pregnancy testing before you get any other tests or treatments. Your care team needs to know the test results.
If you have sex, you can get pregnant. Medical treatments may affect your periods. But they will not keep you from getting pregnant. Some birth control methods are very effective. But there is always a risk of pregnancy even if you use birth control.
Tell your care team if you are having sex, have had sex within the last nine months, or are planning on having sex.
You must tell someone on your care team before getting any tests or treatments. You can ask to talk privately with any member of your health care team. They will keep what you say private unless there is a serious medical reason to tell your parent or caregiver. Your care team needs to know if you are having sex, so they can protect you and your unborn child if you are pregnant. They can help you make wise choices about your sexuality when you are getting treatment
If you are having sex, your care team will:
If you are pregnant, your care team will:
Even if you have already started tests or treatment, please tell your care team about your sexual activity. This information is important. It helps them pick the best treatment and care. They keep your information private unless there is a serious medical reason to tell a parent or caregiver. Don't be afraid to talk to your care team. They can speak with you about:
For more information, see "Sexual Health During Cancer Treatment".
Reviewed: August 2022