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Keywords:

  • infertility;
  • early menopause;
  • acute ovarian failure;
  • counseling;
  • amenorrhea;
  • Hodgkin disease;
  • breast cancer;
  • non-Hodgkin lymphoma;
  • leukemia

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The authors sought to describe the age-specific impact of infertility and early menopause after chemotherapy among reproductive age women with cancer.

METHODS:

A total of 1041 women diagnosed with cancer between the ages of 18 and 40 years responded to a retrospective survey on reproductive health history. Five cancer types were included: leukemia, Hodgkin disease (HD), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), breast cancer, and gastrointestinal(GI) cancer. Survey questions addressed acute ovarian failure (cessation of menses after treatment), early menopause (menopause before 45 years old), and infertility (failed conception). Logistic regression was used to determine the proportions of acute ovarian failure and infertility based on age at diagnosis. Censored data methods were used to determine the probability of early menopause.

RESULTS:

Six hundred twenty women received chemotherapy alone. The percentage reporting acute ovarian failure was 8%, 10%, 9%, and 5% for HD, NHL, breast cancer, and GI cancer, respectively. Acute ovarian failure increased significantly with age at diagnosis (P < .05). In subjects not reporting acute ovarian failure, the incidence of infertility was at least 40% at age 35 years and increased significantly with age at diagnosis in HD and breast cancer (P < .05). The estimated probability of early menopause was at least 25% at age 30 years and increased significantly with younger age at diagnosis in HD, NHL, and GI cancer (P < .05).

CONCLUSIONS:

For patients to receive appropriate counseling, it is important that they understand the potential increased risk of infertility and early menopause beyond that of acute ovarian failure. These findings can provide improved, age-specific counseling regarding reproductive impairment for young women diagnosed with cancer. Cancer 2012;. © 2011 American Cancer Society.