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Fertility Procedures Do Not Delay Cancer Treatment, Study Finds

Los Angeles Times,  Nov 13, 2009
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Women under 40 who are diagnosed with breast cancer often face the additional burden of losing their fertility due to the cancer treatment. If treatment is likely to cause future infertility, women may wish to undergo a procedure to harvest eggs to preserve future childbearing options.

A study published this week reassures women and their doctors that fertility procedures can be done in an orderly way that should not delay breast cancer treatment. The findings show the key to timely fertility procedures depends on all the parties involved -- the patient, cancer surgeon, medical oncologist and reproductive specialists -- working together and communicating effectively.

"The burden of facing premature menopause adds to the stress experienced by young cancer survivors," the lead author of the study, Dr. Lynn Westphal of Stanford University, said in a news release. "Our study shows that these procedures, when expedited and appropriately timed, do not delay cancer treatment."

The researchers identified 82 women younger than 40 who were diagnosed with breast cancer. Nineteen of the women underwent egg retrieval, while 63 did not. For the women who underwent egg retrieval, an average of 71 days elapsed between initial diagnosis to chemotherapy compared with 67 days in the women who did not have egg retrieval. The time elapsed between surgery and chemotherapy was also similar in the two groups. Read more.


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