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Fertility hope for cancer patients

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Stephanie Moisio had just married her best friend when doctors told her she had stage-two breast cancer.   

"I couldn't even, I couldn't believe it," she said.

The 29-year-old needed surgery, chemo and radiation.  All these treatments could jeopardize her chances of starting a family.

"So we came home, digested all of this and then we started thinking, oh my god, we're never going to have kids," said Moisio.

Stephanie chose to freeze her eggs and Cleveland Clinic doctor Halle Moore offered her an additional option – the injectable drug goserelin it's a synthetic hormone that puts a woman's ovaries in a "resting" state.

"To basically put them in a temporary menopause during the chemotherapy treatment in the hopes of improving prospects for long-term ovarian function," explained Halle Moore, M.D., Medical Oncologist at Cleveland Clinic.

In a study of 200 patients, 22-percent who received standard chemo had ovarian failure compared to only eight percent who received goserelin and chemo. Only eight of the women who had standard chemo had successful pregnancies compared to 16 who took goserelin during chemotherapy.  

Moisio and her husband tried in-vitro, but it wasn't successful. One month later, she got pregnant on her own – and then again a few years later. 

"Everybody kind of knows these girls shouldn't have really been here, and we were very, very blessed," Moisio explained.

Now, she's cancer-free and enjoying every minute with her daughters. 

"I never take for granted every single day," said Moisio.

Side effects of the drug include menopause-like symptoms such as hot flashes. The researchers also noticed that the patients who took goserelin were not only more likely to become pregnant ? they actually had better cancer outcomes. Researchers plan to explore this finding in future studies.

Additional Information:

Chemotherapy is the key form of cancer treatment: however, it not only targets the cancerous cells, it can also harm good cells. This is because chemotherapy drugs are cytotoxic, meaning that they kill cells all cells that are extremely active. The result of this causes the common symptoms due to treatment: loss of hair, weight loss, vomiting and immune deficiencies.  Alternative cancer treatments are considered complementary to another standard treatment. These include, but may not be limited to, non-toxic supplements such as: vitamins and minerals, herbs, amino acids, and peptides
(Source: http://www.naturalnews.com/012727_chemotherapy_cancer_treatments.html, http://www.cancermonthly.com/effectiveuse.asp)


FERTILITY PRESERVATION: For both men and women undergoing chemotherapy or another form of cancer treatment, there are several options to preserve fertility. If radiation treatment is being performed on an area far enough from the pelvic region, gonadal shielding can reduce testicle and reproductive organ exposure to the radiation. Cryopreservation of sperm and eggs is another option to ensure future fertilization techniques. Specifically for women, if radiation is being applied to the pelvis, an ovarian transposition (oophoropexy) can be performed to surgically reposition the ovaries as far away from the treatment site as possible. Removal of the cervix, or radial trachelectomy, can also preserve fertility in early stages of cervical cancer.
(Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/getting-pregnant/in-depth/fertility-preservation/art-20047512)


NEW DRUG TREATMENT: Goserelin (or Zoladex) is a form of hormone therapy used in treatments for prostate cancer, breast cancer, and a non-cancerous condition called endometriosis. Classified as a leutinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist, the drug tells the pituitary gland to stop producing the leutinizing hormone, which in women stimulates the release of estrogen in the ovaries. The resulting lack of estrogen production interferes with cell growth in estrogen-dependent cancer cells. Goserelin has no effect on the cancer itself, only the ovaries (or testicles in men). 
(Source: http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/drug-info/goserelin.aspx#.VDWH9PldU1I)