Young breast cancer patients are often faced with the decision of choosing treatment that will kill their cancer, but will also kill their chance of getting pregnant. A new study shows that a drug given to women during chemotherapy may help them avoid that decision and preserve their fertility.
At 28-years-old, Christy Wolford was diagnosed with breast cancer just months after having her first child.
"There was no option for me to do anything but to figure out how to beat this," said Wolford.
Wolford had a double mastectomy and six-months of chemo -- a treatment that renders a majority of patients infertile. But, she decided to participate in a clinical trial that added the drug goserelin to her regimen.
"It essentially shuts down ovarian activity while the patients are on chemotherapy," said Sharon Giordano, MD, Professor of Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
More than 250 women with hormone-receptor negative breast cancer participated in the study.
Researchers found that those given the drug were less likely to experience ovarian failure and more likely to conceive after chemo.
The pregnancy rate was twice as high in the drug-treated group.
"It is an exciting study because it does add another option for our young breast cancer patients," said Giordano. "Even though the data we have isn't perfect, at least it gives us some evidence that there's something you can do to help preserve your fertility."
Wolford and her husband had three boys since the trial, and they give the drug full credit.
The annual Susan G. Komen Puget Sound Race for the Cure is Sunday, June 1 at Seattle Center.