Oncology Nursing Stories: Pregnancy After Lymphoma Chemoradiation


In this episode of "The Vitals," Ellen Miller, MSN, FNP-BC, talks about meeting a patient who realized she wanted to get pregnant after undergoing chemoradiation as a teenager.

In this episode of The Vitals, Ellen Miller, MSN, FNP-BC, a nurse practitioner with Vanderbilt University’s Radiation Oncology Survivorship Clinic, shares her experience with a 26-year-old woman who wanted to get pregnant after undergoing chemoradiation for stage II extranodal natural killer T-cell lymphoma of the nasal cavity as a teenager. Miller underscores why some patients may not choose or be able to pursue fertility preservation when they receive a cancer diagnosis, and what follow-up conversations might be necessary for survivors who have family building goals following cancer treatment.

References and resources are provided below. 

Episode Highlights

“When I talked with her, I asked her, specifically, ‘Were you offered fertility preservation?’ And she said, ‘Absolutely.’ [But] she declined, she said, ‘I was 19, I didn’t think I wanted kids.’ But she had [since] met her husband, a wonderful man, and decided that she wanted to have kids.” Time Stamp (TS) 05:29

“The out-of-pocket [cost] for fertility preservation is $10,000 to $15,000, on average. That’s hard for [anyone], not to mention a young [woman].” TS 06:26

“Not only can chemotherapy damage existing eggs, but it can also lead patients to have early or premature menopause.” TS 09:16

“If patients were to have left-sided chest radiation, [for] a lymphoma or maybe even a breast cancer, we would do some cardiac monitoring, since both the chemotherapy and the radiation can be damaging to the heart, and pregnancy can cause the heart to work harder.” TS 12:16

“[The] trajectory for her experience was pretty standard, and we were thankful for that. But there are some reasons why some women would need further monitoring.” TS 15:41

Episode Notes

The Vitals Podcast:

Oncology Nursing News® Online Articles

Video Interviews

Oncology Nursing News® Publication Features


  • Female reproductive health. CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. Accessed November 15, 2022. https://bit.ly/3UP7XIe
  • Having a baby after cancer: pregnancy. American Cancer Society. March 2019. Accessed November 15, 2022. https://bit.ly/3EdKQjM
  • Fertility facts. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. November 2014. Accessed November 15, 2022. https://bit.ly/3EdLaiu
  • Quick guide to fertility preservation. July 2022. Accessed November 15, 2022. https://bit.ly/3GgnbSz
  • Cardonick EH. Overview of infertility and pregnancy outcome in cancer survivors. UpToDate. July 24, 2019. Accessed November 15, 2022. https://bit.ly/3ty7iiM


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