Breast Cancer Patients May Receive Drug To Prevent Menopause
When breast cancer patients are undergoing chemotherapy, supplying the ovaries with rest may help prevent early menopause and preserve fertility, says new research.
HealthDay reports a new study in the July 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that shutting down the ovaries when a patient is undergoing chemotherapy through the hormone triptorelin helped prevent early menopause.
Authors believe it could provide an option to help women with breast cancer avoid and prevent early menopause. Chemotherapy is often associated with early menopause.
According to the research, triptorelin protects the ovaries by temporarily stopping ovarian function. Among women who took triptorelin in addition to chemotherapy, more than 63 percent regained the ability to menstruate, compared to about 50 percent of the women who had chemotherapy alone.
The researchers studied younger, premenopausal women with breast cancer -- aged 18 to 45 -- and only those who had earlier-stage breast cancer.
Though the occurrence is more likely with certain types of chemo, nearly 40 percent of women who undergo chemotherapy experience early menopause.
Many times, the best option for women who want to have children is in vitro fertilization before treatment, then have the embryo preserved, according to the authors.
Still, other experts have reservations about triptorelin.
Dr. Lauren Cassell, chief of breast surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told HealthDay, “ Just because you resume menses [menstruation] doesn't mean that you're going to have fertilization. You don't really know how this is going to affect long-term outcomes.”