If you have breast cancer and you are worried about conceiving a child after the cancer treatment, a clinical trial recently completed has compared the effectiveness of various fertility preservation techniques used in women undergoing breast cancer treatment.
Breast cancer is a disease in which the cells in the breast grow out of control. Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer among women worldwide. Approximately 12.9 percent of women will be diagnosed with female breast cancer at some point during their lifetime. It is estimated that 287,850 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in 2022.
Women with breast cancer are at risk for future infertility as cancer treatment can be lifesaving but negatively impacts the ovaries. Women who undergo breast cancer treatment may experience premature menopause, which can make it difficult or even impossible to conceive a child naturally. Fertility preservation is a crucial consideration for women who want to have children after breast cancer treatment.
Women with breast cancer have the option to retrieve and save oocytes (eggs) or embryos before their treatment, which requires ovarian stimulation involving short-term exposure to high levels of estrogen. However, this estrogen exposure has led to some concerns about cancer recurrence. So, many new medications such as tamoxifen and letrozole are being added to this ovarian stimulation protocol to address these concerns. However, strong clinical data on their effectiveness is deficient.
A recent study published in the journal Human Reproduction has examined the effectiveness of different ovarian stimulation protocols for fertility preservation in women with breast cancer.
The clinical study was conducted in 10 hospitals and included 162 women with breast cancer who were planning to undergo cancer treatment and wanted fertility preservation.
The women were divided into three groups. The first group received standard ovarian stimulation, which involved the use of gonadotropins, a type of hormone that stimulates the ovaries to produce eggs. The second group received standard stimulation plus tamoxifen while the third group received standard stimulation plus letrozole.
The results of the clinical trial showed that all three ovarian stimulation protocols were effective in achieving ovarian stimulation and harvesting eggs for future fertility preservation. There were no significant differences in the number of eggs harvested or the quality of the eggs between the three groups.
In addition, all three ovarian stimulation protocols were safe and did not result in significant side effects.
Overall, the clinical study's findings suggest that all three ovarian stimulation protocols are safe and effective for fertility preservation in women with breast cancer. However, it is important to note that fertility preservation is not guaranteed, and women who undergo breast cancer treatment may still experience infertility. However, by undergoing fertility preservation, women can increase their chances of having a child after treatment.
In conclusion, the clinical trial provides valuable information regarding the efficacy of different ovarian stimulation techniques for fertility preservation in women with breast cancer. Women who are considering fertility preservation should discuss their options with their healthcare providers and make informed choices based on their circumstances and preferences.
Human Reproduction Journal, Jul-01-22