Turning Off Your Ovaries During Cancer Treatment

Cancer can have debilitating effects on those who would like to start a family in the future. For those diagnosed with hormonal breast cancer, a new option improves a patient’s chances of conceiving naturally in the future.

New research presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago shows that temporary blocking the ovaries from releasing eggs during chemotherapy treatment could improve the odds of having a baby in the future. The treatment involves injections of an existing drug called Goserelin, which lowers estrogen levels thus suppressing a woman’s menstrual cycle. Doctors found that the women who received the shot cut their chances of ovary failure in half. In addition, the women who received the shot were twice as likely to become pregnant and to deliver a healthy baby. Halle Moore, the lead author of the study and oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, believes that women beginning chemotherapy for early breast cancer should consider including Goserelin as part of their treatment in an effort to protect their ovaries from any adversely damaging effects. This treatment is a much less invasive and less expensive than harvesting eggs for in vitro fertilization.