The incidence of temporary amenorrhoea or early menopause due to cancer or its treatments varies according to the age, pubertal status, existing ovarian reserve and type of cancer and/or treatment.
The risk of menopause increases with age, most likely because older women have decreased ovarian reserve compared to younger women. At birth, the ovaries contain approximately 1 million primordial follicles. With ageing, this supply of oocytes naturally diminishes (atresia) until there are <1000 oocytes remaining at menopause.
Cancer and/or its treatment can affect the ovaries : surgery – by removal, chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment by impairing follicular maturation or increasing the rate of oocyte loss.
This can result in the development of amenorrhoea which may be temporary (with a variable degree of recovery) or permanent (premature/early menopause). Return of menses does not necessarily mean return of fertility.
Given increases in incidence, prevalence and prognosis Angela Lamarca’s talk at ENETs 2021 – highlighted the importance of onco-fertility discussion in the Neuroendocrine Cancer population – and the limitations in available information re Neuroendocrine Cancer specific treatment consequences.
To find out more about Ovarian Neuroendocrine Cancer click here.