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Treatment affected by infertility concerns

Posted - Oct. 13, 2004 at 6:20 p.m.



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ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct 13, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- As many as one-third of young breast cancer patients' treatment decisions are influenced by concerns over infertility caused by therapy, says a Harvard study.

The study found that the majority of the women were very concerned about the ability to have a child as well as the impact that pregnancy might have on disease recurrence, despite the relative lack of data on these risks.

The study will be published in the Oct. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"These findings indicate that women may overestimate infertility risk, and highlight the need for enhanced communication between physicians and patients," said Ann H. Partridge at the Harvard Medical School.

"A key challenge in discussing these issues is the lack of comprehensive data on how cancer therapy affects fertility, particularly when considering newer chemotherapy regimens, and whether getting pregnant after therapy affects the risk of disease recurrence."

Over 11,500 women under the age of 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the United States. Some breast cancer therapies may cause women to stop menstruating, either temporarily or permanently.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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