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Treatment May Preserve Fertility For Some Breast Cancer Patients

Premenopausal women who receive a positive diagnosis of breast cancer often face a double whammy of sorts. First, there’s the breast cancer itself. The second blow comes with the realization that potentially lifesaving treatments may forever damage ability to conceive.

Researchers may have found a way to soften that second part of the whammy. Studies are supporting the use of a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone analogue during chemotherapy to help women undergoing breast cancer treatment retain their ovarian function. This, in turn, may pave the way for some to go on and become pregnant when it is medically advised.

The latest study on this topic those that using a drug known as triptorelin during chemo can increase probability of normal ovarian function recovery. During the course of the study, more patients treated with the hormone while undergoing chemo were able to achieve pregnancy than those undergoing chemo on its own. The increase in percentage, researchers noted, were quite small. Even so, the potential offers a ray of hope for women who wish to preserve fertility.

There are no guarantees for women undergoing breast cancer treatment that their fertility can be maintained. At present, it is recommended that women work with their healthcare providers to devise strategies that work in their unique case. Other options include cryopreservation and temporary ovarian suppression. Women may also find that surrogacy or adoption can still help them achieve the goal of building a family someday down the road.

Breast cancer strikes more than 240,000 American women each year. Some of those women are in their childbearing years and find treatments for their disease rather disconcerting. With that in mind, it is strongly recommended that premenopausal women discuss all their family planning options with their healthcare providers. While there is no magic bullet to address treatment and fertility at the moment, options do exist.


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