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Breast Cancer Treatment Could Preserve Ovarian Function

Breast Cancer Treatment Could Preserve Ovarian FunctionOvarian function could be preserved for some women with breast cancer, reducing their chances of undergoing early menopause and potentially increasing their chances of becoming pregnant, according to the results of the Prevention of Early Menopause Study (POEMS).

Researchers have found that adding injections of a drug called goserelin to standard chemotherapy lowered the risk of ovarian failure in women with hormone-receptor negative breast cancer.

Breast cancer is classified by its hormone receptor status. Found in cancer cells, receptors are proteins that attach to the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Unfortunately, these hormones spur the growth of more cancer cells. Women with hormone-receptor positive breast cancer might take hormone therapy drugs to control the cancer.

Not all breast cancers have hormone receptors, however. Women with hormone-receptor negative breast cancer would not take hormone therapy drugs. This type of cancer is more common in women who have not gone through menopause yet.

Chemotherapy, a common breast cancer treatment, can damage the ovaries, leading to early menopause. At this point, women can no longer become pregnant and may develop sexual problems, such as vaginal dryness.

In the POEMS, researchers wanted to see whether early menopause could be avoided in women with hormone-receptor negative breast cancer.

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