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Childhood Cancer Survivors Prone to Early Menopause
by: Robert Preidt

Female survivors of childhood cancer are more likely to experience early menopause than other women, a U.S. study finds.

Reporting in the July 5 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City studied the incidence and risk factors for premature menopause in more than 2,800 women who were childhood cancer survivors. They then compared that data to information on premature menopause from 1,065 female siblings of childhood cancer survivors.

Early menopause occurred in 126 childhood cancer survivors and in 33 of the siblings, the study found. Non-surgical, premature menopause was more common among childhood cancer survivors. The cumulative incidence of premature menopause was nearly 30 percent among cancer patients who'd been treated with both abdominal-pelvic radiation and alkylating chemotherapy.

The study concluded that age, radiation to the ovaries, a diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma, and treatment with alkylating chemotherapy increased the risk of early menopause in childhood cancer survivors.

"The results of this study will facilitate counseling current survivors about their future risk of premature menopause and will aid in designing new regimens that seek to diminish late ovarian toxicity," the study authors wrote.

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