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Predicting the age at menopause of women having suffered from childhood cancers
Date:12/4/2012

bjected to various cancer treatments during childhood. It appeared that being treated during puberty was associated with a risk of non-surgical menopause. At a given age, the maximum risk of early menopause was observed in women who had been treated after the onset of puberty with alkylating agents (either alone or along with even a minimum dose of radiation to the ovaries, for example 0.01 Gray). Menopause occurred on average 4 years earlier in women who had been exposed to these agents. Having undergone unilateral oophorectomy is also associated with a 7-year earlier age at menopause.

The results showed that women who had suffered from a childhood cancer were more likely to suffer from early menopause, but did not conform the high risk of premature menopause (in other words, before 40 years of age), such as was reported in the American studies. This is probably due to the difference between the populations studied (there were no cases of leukemia or lymphoma in the Euro2k cohort population).

"In this cohort , very few women had received high doses of radiotherapy in order to receive bone marrow transplants, and only 21% of them (i.e. twice the occurrence of the general population) suffered premature menopause before the age of 40″, explained Ccile Teinturier, the principal writer of the study. The main risk factors associated to these cases of premature menopause are: the older the women is when being treated for cancer, the dose of alkyating agents such as Cyclophosphamide or Melphalan received during bone marrow transplants, and the radiation dose received at the ovaries.

"This study provided information about the risk factors affecting the fertility window of women who have suffered from childhood cancer. This new data should help both to inform patients who are at risk of premature menopause, by advising them not to delay their first pregnancy until after the age of thirty, and to reassure women who present a low risk" conclude
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Contact: Inserm press office
presse@inserm.fr
INSERM (Institut national de la sant et de la recherche mdicale)
Source:Eurekalert

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