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Breast cancer
30 Dec. 2013

breast cancerOf the 185,000 women in the US who are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, 25% are premenopausal. Some drugs used in the treatment of breast cancer within the terms of hormone and chemotherapy may cause premature menopause and temporary or permanent infertility. Infertility, depending on its type, can be treated with Nolvadex (tamoxifen, although it’s more often prescribed to treat breast cancer in terms of hormone therapy), Femara, Clomid and many others.

Even if women undergoing chemotherapy do not have their periods, they still should practice fertility control, because the drugs used in therapy can cause various birth defects.

Radiation therapy does not cause infertility unless it’s applied to both ovaries. Sometimes, depending on the extension and the type of the breast cancer, ovaries can be irradiated or surgically removed to lower the level of estrogen, and that will cause premature menopause and permanent infertility. Women who have undergone surgical menopause encounter sudden decrease of estrogen level, and so the menopausal symptoms they face are severer. To fight these symptoms women can be prescribed drugs like Premarin or other medicines created to relieve the symptoms, and Womenra can be used to revive sex drive.

Women with breast cancer who are planning to have children should think about the possibilities how they can preserve their fertility before they start breast cancer treatment. But that is not always possible as the patients are focused on their diagnosis and first of all think how to fight their breast cancer.

But there are at least several options helping preserve female fertility:

• Freezing ovarian tissue – it was 1999, when for the first time the previously frozen ovarian tissue was re-implanted and that restored ovarian function of a woman. This method is not widespread, but has a lot of advantages.check your breast cancer

• Freezing embryos or egg cells – they can be extracted, frozen and stored until the end of the treatment when a woman will be ready to become pregnant.

• Egg cells donation – a woman can get an egg cell from a donor, that cell will be later fertilized and implanted in the uterus once the cancer therapy is over.

• The reproductive organs suppression by means of hormones – this method includes the use of hormones to place female reproductive organs in their inactive state suppressing the production of egg cells in female body. This method is still being studied.

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