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New Research Gives Hope to Breast Cancer Patients Who Want Children

A new study found that a drug might help women with breast cancer remain fertile.

Getting breast cancer at a young age is scary for many reasons, but for some women the disease can be even scarier because it may prevent them from having a family. Chemotherapy treatment has been known to induce premature menopause in some women, causing their ovaries to essentially shut down. This process or side effect of cancer treatment can end women's fertility, preventing them from having children after they overcome breast cancer. As a caveat, infertility doesn't always occur, and some women simply become less fertile, having a harder time conceiving. 

Fortunately, researchers believe that introducing the drug goserelin to women during treatment may prevent possible infertility as a result of chemotherapy. Goserelin temporarily freezes a woman's ovaries to preserve their function. Researchers conducted clinical trials where they gave injections of the drug every month to women receiving chemotherapy. The women who got the injections gave birth to more babies after beating breast cancer than the women who did not get the injections.

"Premenopausal women beginning chemotherapy for early breast cancer should consider this new option to prevent premature ovarian death," Dr. Halle Moore, the study's lead author, said in a statement.

Prior to goserelin research, some young breast cancer patients opted to preserve their eggs artificially by removing their eggs from their bodies. They could then have kids through in vitro fertilization. However, this invasive procedure is expensive and goserelin might provide a cheaper, less invasive fertility option.

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