Breast cancer survivors may be able to preserve their ability to have children. Chemotherapy often leaves ovaries unable to produce eggs, and doctors are cautious about prescribing fertility hormones to breast cancer patients because estrogen can fuel tumor growth.
Recent study: When doctors prescribed two common cancer-fighting drugs that also stimulate ovulation—tamoxifen and letrozole—before chemotherapy, all the breast cancer patients were able to produce healthy embryos that could be frozen for future pregnancies. Cancer recurrence was not increased in women undergoing in vitro fertilization using these drugs. Experts say it may be too soon to know whether the procedure is completely safe for women with breast cancer—patients are being monitored for relapses. This procedure also can be used in women with endometrial cancer.
Best: Young women who have breast cancer and who want to be able to have children should contact a fertility specialist.
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