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Monday, April 18, 2011

Early Menopause Increasing

Early Menopause Increasing

More women are suffering from an early menopause, largely because childhood cancer survival rates have improved so much in recent decades, according to a study of the problem.

By Stephen Adams

'Premature ovarian failure', as the early menopause is known by doctors, refers to the loss of function of the ovaries before 40. It affects about one in 100 women.
The incidence is increasing, according to a review published today (MON) in the journal, The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, largely because of the increase in the numbers of people surviving childhood cancers.
Early menopause can be triggered decades earlier by exposure to chemotherapy and radiotherapy as a child.
Studies have found that eight per cent of all female survivors of childhood cancers experience early menopause.
This increases to 30 to 40 per cent among those who received a combination of radiotherapy and alkylating agents. Both attack cancerous and non-cancerous cells.
When women stop ovulating they become infertile, although they can have babies with the help of egg or embryo donation.
Puneet Arora, a registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology at Hope Hospital, Salford and a co-author of the review said: "Premature ovarian failure is usually permanent but ovarian activity can resume in some cases.
"Women who are diagnosed with the condition need support as these women are often anxious and depressed. However recent scientific advances in assisted conception provide hope to women."

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