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Women's Health, Breast Health: A Review of the Gynecologic Effects of Breast Cancer

Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, Women's Cancer Care Program, Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center and UCSF Women's Health, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Obstetrical & gynecological survey (Impact Factor: 2.36). 08/2009; 64(7):469-80; quiz 499. DOI: 10.1097/OGX.0b013e3181a713f1
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Breast cancer is very common and seen in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Research into prevention, better screening, and more effective treatments is occurring continually, and changes are translated into clinical practice relatively quickly. It is important for women's health care providers to have an understanding of breast cancer treatments and the gynecologic side effects. For premenopausal women interested in fertility, options should be discussed prior to chemotherapy. Issues pertaining to pregnancy after breast cancer should be discussed in a multidisciplinary fashion, involving the obstetrician/gynecologist, breast surgeon, and oncologist. Ovarian suppression is often used as part of breast cancer treatment in premenopausal women with hormone positive disease, and menopausal symptoms may be severe. Hormonal therapies including tamoxifen and the aromatase inhibitors are used in the treatment of hormone positive breast cancers. Each of these drugs has a variety of gynecologic implications. Understanding the options for treatment for menopausal complaints in breast cancer patients is important for women's health providers. Although most breast cancers are sporadic, a small percentage will be due to mutations in the BRCA genes. It is important for women's health providers to take an appropriate family history and refer to genetic counselors for possible testing when hereditary cancer is suspected. This review focuses on the various women's health issues pertaining to breast cancer and treatment.

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