New Option For Fertility After Cancer - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

New Option For Fertility After Cancer

Posted: Updated:

CINCINNATI, OH ( Ivanhoe Newswire) - Effective cancer treatments mean more young cancer patients are surviving, but the same medications that are saving their lives are also killing their chances of having children.

From studying chemistry to winning homecoming queen, life for straight-a student Julianne Mai was all about school, until a few weeks ago.

"I didn't think that someone like me could have cancer," Julianne told Ivanhoe.

Now Julianne's on her second round of chemo. Not only is she fighting cancer, she also had to make a choice about her future as a parent.

"Being a 17-year-old, babies aren't exactly what I have in mind all the time," Julianne said.

It's a decision 130,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients must make every year. Doctor Steven Lindheim heads one of 50 national oncofertility sites addressing the problem.

"What we can provide for them is the ability after they've done their therapy to still have a family," Steven Lindheim, M.D., director of the UC Center for reproductive health, explained.

Since Julianne needed chemo right away, she opted to have one of her ovaries removed and frozen for the future.

"To date ovaries have been transplanted either back in the forearm or chest wall," Dr. Lindheim said.

That's because of the rich blood supply found there. Later in vitro fertilization can take place. The technique is still experimental and has only resulted in 18 pregnancies worldwide.

"It's a new process. I don't know if it's going to work but it's for ten years from now," Julianne said.

Freezing embryos and eggs is more common. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, 37-year-old Jennifer Mcguire decided to freeze her eggs.

"I had just started dating a guy and you know and to ask him to create embryos with me, it was a little much," Jennifer Mcguire said.

For now, she's taking her cancer one day at a time.

"Trying to get my life back," Julianne said.

In many cases these fertility preservation options are not covered by insurance. The cost can range from $8,000 to $12,000 depending on the procedure. Doctor Lindheim also works with livestrongs' sharing hope and said the foundation can help patient's arrange for discounted services and donated medications.

RESEARCH SUMMARY

BACKGROUND: Survival rates among young cancer patients have steadily increased over the past four decades in part because of the development of more effective cancer treatments. Today, both women and men can look forward to life after cancer, yet many may face the possibility of infertility as a result of the disease itself or these lifesaving treatments. (SOURCE: www.oncofertility.northwestern.edu)

WOMEN AND INFERTILITY: Women are born with a finite number of eggs. As they age, the supply diminishes until there are no more viable eggs and menopause begins. Standard cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, damage or destroy eggs, essentially inducing early menopause in many women. Women faced with cancer need to make decisions quickly about ways to potentially preserve their fertility. (SOURCE: www.cancer.stanford.edu)

METHODS TO HAVE CHILDREN AFTER CANCER: Fortunately, women have more choices than ever to have children after cancer from new storage methods for eggs to fertility-sparing surgeries.

  1. Embryo freezing -Embryo freezing, or embryo cryopreservation, is the most common and successful method of preserving fertility today. Mature eggs are removed from the woman's ovaries and fertilized in the lab. This is called in vitro fertilization (IVF). The embryos are then frozen for future use after cancer treatment. This option works well for women who already have a partner, though single women can still have in vitro fertilization using donor sperm. Since each egg can most likely produce a single embryo at best, a woman will have a better chance of a successful pregnancy by storing several embryos. Hormones can be used to ripen several eggs at once. In most women, this means starting a cycle of hormone shots on day 3 of her menstrual cycle and continuing them for 2 to 3 weeks until many eggs are mature (often around 12 in a woman under age 35).
  2.  Ovarian transposition -Ovarian transposition means moving the ovaries away from the target zone of radiation treatment, usually during laparoscopy. Surgeons will usually move the ovaries above and to the side of the central pelvic area. This procedure typically does not require being in the hospital. It can be used either before or after puberty. The success rates have usually been measured by the percentage of women who regain their menstrual periods, not by being able to have a live birth. Typically, about half the women start menstruating again
  3. Radical trachelectomy- Radical trachelectomy is an option for cervical cancer patients who have very small, localized tumors. The cervix is removed but the uterus and the ovaries are left. Trachelectomy appears to be just as successful as radical hysterectomy in removing cervical cancer in certain women. Women can become pregnant after the surgery, but are at risk for miscarriage and premature birth because the opening to the uterus may not close as strongly or tightly as before. These women will need specialized obstetrical care while pregnant.
  4. Fertility-sparing surgical procedure -This surgical treatment can be used in some women with ovarian cancer in only one ovary. The cancer must be one of the less aggressive types, like borderline, low malignant potential, germ cell tumors, or stromal cell tumors. A surgeon will try to remove just the ovary with cancer, leaving the healthy ovary and uterus in place. If there is a risk of the cancer coming back, the surgeon may later remove the unaffected ovary after the woman has finished having children. (SOURCE: www.cancer.stanford.edu)

ONCOFERTILITY: Oncofertility is an interdisciplinary field at the intersection of oncology and reproductive medicine that expands fertility options for cancer survivors. The Oncofertiltiy Consortium was launched with a grant from the National Institutes of Health and represents a nationwide, interdisciplinary, and interprofessional network of medical specialists, scientists, and scholars who are exploring the relationships between health, disease, survivorship and fertility preservation in young cancer patients. (SOURCE: www.oncofertility.northwestern.edu)

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Steven R. Lindheim, MD, MMM

(513) 585-2355|

steven.lindheim@uc.edu

  • Medical News HeadlinesMedical News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Friday, April 11 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-11 21:15:07 GMT
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a rare type of melanoma that targets the eye. It can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a type of melanoma that targets the eye. It affects about 2,000 people a year in the United States. Although rare – it can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
  • Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Thursday, April 10 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-10 21:15:09 GMT
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
  • Pedaling For A Cure

    Pedaling For A Cure

    Wednesday, April 9 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-09 21:15:09 GMT
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
  • Bringing Hearts Back To Life: New Improved Defibrillator

    Bringing Hearts Back To Life: New Improved Defibrillator

    Tuesday, April 8 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-08 21:15:13 GMT
    CPR and a portable defibrillator helped keep Eric Robinson alive after he went into cardiac arrest. And now a newly FDA approved Biotronik implantable cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, constantly monitors his heart.more>>
    A year ago, while jamming with his son's band, Eric Robinson went into cardiac arrest. CPR and a portable defibrillator helped keep Robinson alive. And now a newly FDA approved Biotronik implantable cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, constantly monitors his heart.more>>
  • Helping High Risk Hearts

    Helping High Risk Hearts

    Monday, April 7 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-07 21:15:09 GMT
    Ironing is not exactly Barbara Roy's favorite activity, but it's something she's glad she can do again. Her doctor diagnosed her with severe aortic stenosis.more>>
    Ironing is not exactly Barbara Roy's favorite activity, but it's something she's glad she can do again. Her doctor diagnosed her with severe aortic stenosis.more>>
  • Hernias In Newborns: Lincoln's Story

    Hernias In Newborns: Lincoln's Story

    Friday, April 4 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-04 21:15:07 GMT
    Congenital diaphragmatic hernias occur in about one in every 2,000 births. They can be deadly, but now doctors are using a more aggressive treatment approach.more>>
    Congenital diaphragmatic hernias occur in about one in every 2,000 births. They can be deadly, but now doctors are using a more aggressive treatment approach.more>>
  • Predicting Bad Hearts

    Predicting Bad Hearts

    Thursday, April 3 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-03 21:15:09 GMT
    Every year, more than 700,000 Americans have a heart attack. Now, researchers at Baylor Research Institute at Dallas have uncovered a biomarker that may help them spot the disease sooner.more>>
    Every year, more than 700,000 Americans have a heart attack. And 600,000 die of heart disease. Now, researchers at Baylor Research Institute at Dallas have uncovered a biomarker that may help them spot the disease sooner; and they did it by pure accident.more>>
  • Giving Shannon A Voice Of Her Own

    Giving Shannon A Voice Of Her Own

    Wednesday, April 2 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-02 21:15:05 GMT
    More than half a million children under age 15 has a severe communication disorder impairing their ability to speak or communicate with others. Now, advances in technology are giving them a voice—some for the first time.more>>
    More than half a million children under age 15 has a severe communication disorder impairing their ability to speak or communicate with others. Now, advances in technology are giving them a voice—some for the first time.more>>
  • Getting On Your Nerves To Save Your Heart

    Getting On Your Nerves To Save Your Heart

    Tuesday, April 1 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-01 21:15:06 GMT
    Heart failure is the fastest growing cardiovascular disorder in the U.S., affecting more than 6 million people. However, now a new device that gets on your nerves could help save those with heart failure.more>>
    Heart failure is the fastest growing cardiovascular disorder in the U.S., affecting more than 6 million people. It occurs when a person's heart is too weak to pump and circulate blood in the body. However, now a new device that gets on your nerves could help save those with heart failure.more>>
  • New Way To Hear For Grayson: Brain Stem Implant

    New Way To Hear For Grayson: Brain Stem Implant

    Monday, March 31 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-03-31 21:15:07 GMT
    Imagine being born profoundly deaf: missing the vital nerve needed for you to hear. Without it, you had no options; until now.more>>
    Imagine being born profoundly deaf: missing the vital nerve needed for you to hear. Without it, you had no options; until now.more>>
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 NewsChannel 5 (WTVF-TV) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.