Radiation therapy can erode female fertility

April 2nd, 2009 - 7:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 2 (IANS) Radiation therapy directly over the ovaries should be avoided because they could lead to fertility problems in women, according to a review study.
Radiation therapy of the pelvic region can cause ovarian failure or result in damage that makes the uterus unable to accommodate the growth of a foetus.

These effects are not a great concern to cancer patients past their reproductive years, but due to the growing number of paediatric and young-adult cancer survivors, these effects are increasingly relevant.

Researchers at Harvard Radiation Oncology Programme and the Department of Radiation Oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, reviewed the outcomes of past studies that reported fertility, pregnancy and neonatal outcomes as a result of cranio-spinal, abdominal and pelvic radiation.

Women who received abdominal or pelvic radiation had an increased risk of uterine dysfunction that lead to miscarriage, preterm labour, low birth weight and placental abnormalities.

The study also determined that women who received low doses of ovarian radiation can suffer early menopause, said a Harvard release.

The study appeared in the Wednesday issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology.

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