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Fertility issues in young women with breast cancer must be addressed
Date:3/24/2010

This release is available in Spanish.

Barcelona, Spain: At a time when more and more young women are surviving breast cancer and delaying childbirth, it is important to take their needs and wishes about their future fertility into consideration when deciding on treatment, the seventh European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC7) in Barcelona will hear today (Wednesday). Dr. Anne Armstrong, from the Department of Medical Oncology, the Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK, will say that, although survival remains the most important priority for most women, many are also concerned about being able to make choices concerning their fertility and potential to become pregnant.

The use of chemotherapy and hormonal treatments in young women can have significant implications for their fertility. Such treatments can stop the ovaries producing eggs, sometimes temporarily but also permanently, thus leading to an early menopause. Options to preserve fertility include freezing eggs or embryos, and also freezing ovarian tissue for transplant at a later date, although this is a new, and to date, little-used technique.

Because of rising breast cancer survival rates and the trend to delay pregnancy until later in life, childless women increasingly experience fertility dilemmas. Dr. Armstrong and her team decided to investigate women's responses to being told that treatments affected their fertility, as well as their attitudes to fertility options.

Twenty-four women who were under 40 at diagnosis with early-stage breast cancer participated in three focus groups. Seven of them had attended specialist fertility services. The researchers found that fertility was a significant issue for many of them. "Many of them had concerns about the implications on breast cancer survival of fertility preservation, changes to treatment to improve fertility,
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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