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U of M study looks at why many women stop post-breast cancer treatment

Aug 24, 2015

Many women recovering from breast cancer are skipping some treatment. 

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new University of Michigan study looks at why. 

Tamoxifen is widely prescribed for women recovering from breast cancer.  It can reduce the risk of the cancer recurring by nearly 50%. 

But it can also harm unborn children. For that reason, many pre-menopausal women stop taking the drug. 

Senior study author Jacqueline Jeruss, M.D., Ph.D., is an associate professor of surgery and biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan and a breast cancer surgeon at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. She says the study shows the need to address fertility issues at the outset of treatment.

“Doctors and patients should understand that there is a possibility to prioritize both treatment of cancer and future fertility as a survivorship goal,” says Jeruss.

Jeruss says it’s important for doctors and insurance companies to help women with cancer address their fertility goals.

The study appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.