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Egg freezing may not delay chemo for breast cancer patients

Egg freezing may not delay chemo for breast cancer patients
From Reuters - September 20, 2017

(Reuters Health) - Women diagnosed with breast cancer who want to freeze their eggs and embryos before tumor treatment leads to infertility can do this without delaying the start of chemotherapy, a U.S. study suggests.

Researchers focused on 89 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer who received counseling at a fertility clinic about a relatively new technique known as random-start ovarian stimulation. This process doesnt wait for a womans natural menstrual cycle to stimulate the ovaries to release eggs and can be done in about two weeks, compared with four to six weeks with older ovarian stimulation techniques timed to coincide with menstruation.

Overall, 67 of the women proceeded with random-start ovarian stimulation before beginning cancer treatment.

With fertility treatment, women started chemotherapy an average of 38 days after their breast cancer diagnosis, compared with 39 days when patients decided against fertility preservation.

What this tells us is these women can still go on to build a family, said senior study author Dr. Mitchell Rosen, a reproductive health researcher at the University of California San Francisco.

It only takes two weeks, and it isnt going to cause any delay in their cancer treatment, Rosen said in a telephone interview.

When chemotherapy is needed soon after a breast cancer diagnosis, doctors generally advise that it begin within four to six weeks to avoid hurting womens survival odds.

Chemotherapy can cause infertility by damaging the ovaries and by triggering an early menopause in women of childbearing age.

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