Review Article

Fertility Issues of Breast Cancer Survivors

Hollis McClellan Misiewicz, MSN, CRNP

From Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence to: Hollis McClellan Misiewicz, MSN, CRNP, Mercy Medical Center, Hematology and Medical Oncology, 227 St. Paul Place, Weinberg Building, 4th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202. E-mail: hmisiewicz@mdmercy.com


J Adv Pract Oncol 2012;3:289–298 | DOI: 10.6004/jadpro.2012.3.5.2 | © 2012 Harborside Press®


  

ABSTRACT

In the United States, more women are diagnosed with breast cancer than any other type of cancer. More than 11,000 of these women will be younger than 40, and many of these women will want to have children in the future. A significant number of these young breast cancer patients will require treatment that can cause ovarian failure or premature menopause. Several options do exist for fertility preservation, both standard and investigational. Embryo cryopreservation is the most established intervention. Investigational interventions include oocyte cryopreservation, ovarian tissue transplantation, ovarian suppression with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist, and harvesting of immature follicles with in vitro maturation and cryopreservation. Although pregnancy during cancer treatment is not recommended, pregnancies occurring after completion of therapy have not been linked to increased cancer recurrence. Young women diagnosed with breast cancer need evidence-based information presented in a timely manner in order to make decisions regarding fertility preservation prior to the initiation of treatment. The oncology advanced practitioner must be knowledgeable about fertility preservation options available to these women as well as comfortable with ethical and financial concerns that can arise. The informed practitioner can effectively counsel patients and refer to fertility specialists when appropriate. 




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