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Breast cancer, drug-induced menopause preserves fertility in young women

February 23, 2018

In young patients undergoing chemotherapy, treatment for hormone-responsive breast cancer, i.e. a cell tumor that grows thanks to hormones produced by the patient, the pharmacologically-induced menopause aims to set aside the ovaries and thus preserve fertility as much as possible – explains Dr. Andrea Sagona, breast surgeon at Humanitas Cancer Center. Hormone therapy rests and preserves the ovaries of the patient, thus protecting them from the toxic effects of chemotherapy by administering a drug that interferes with ovarian activity (LH-RH analogy) by blocking the pituitary hormones that regulate the production of estrogen at ovarian level. In patients with a higher risk of recurrence, the therapy also includes another drug, an anti-estrogen. The complete hormone therapy (analogue LH-RH and anti-estrogen) usually lasts from three to five years, but up to ten years in the patients most at risk, and is characterized by the suspension of menstruation, i.e. a drug-induced menopause that, depending on the type of treatment, in young patients can be reversible.

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