A win for young breast cancer patients: Drug helps preserve fertility after chemo, study finds

In this May 29, 2014 photo, Christy Wolford, a breast cancer survivor, stands for a photo at her Primrose School in Fort Collins, Colo. Young women with breast cancer might be able to avoid infertility caused by chemotherapy if they use a drug to shut down their ovaries temporarily, while treatment goes on. Wolford's ovaries were suppressed during cancer treatment and she has had three boys since it ended in 2006.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Ed Andrieski

CHICAGO - Doctors may have a way to help young breast cancer patients avoid infertility caused by chemotherapy. Giving a drug to shut down the ovaries temporarily seems to boost the odds they will work after treatment ends, and it might even improve survival.

Chemotherapy often causes early menopause. A Cleveland Clinic researcher led a study of 250 women around the world to see whether giving a drug to make the ovaries go dormant would help.

Two years after cancer treatment ended, women whose ovaries were suppressed were less likely to suffer early menopause, and twice as many of them became pregnant compared to others in the study.

Results were discussed Friday at a cancer conference in Chicago.

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