Wednesday November 20, 2019

40-Year-Old Woman Suffering from Breast Cancer Delivers Baby through IVF Method

However, before starting the treatment for cancer Radhika had her ovaries frozen, said Dr Mandavi Rai, IVF expert at Indira IVF Hospital, here, who treated her

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IVF method
Terming it a unique case, doctors said delivering a baby by cancer patients post chemotherapy gets tougher with the age. Pixabay

A 40-year-old woman suffering from breast cancer for over five years has delivered a boy through in vitro fertilization (IVF) method. The patient Radhika (name changed) was diagnosed with breast cancer with cancerous changes without any metastasis, seven years ago and was undergoing treatment. She had been married for 17 years and decided to go for artificial reproductive techniques to enjoy motherhood.

The couple underwent a series of tests. The reports revealed normal semen analysis, but she had a poor ovarian reserve due to repeated chemotherapy cycles and cancer medications. However, before starting the treatment for cancer Radhika had her ovaries frozen, said Dr Mandavi Rai, IVF expert at Indira IVF Hospital, here, who treated her.

“Moreover with a endometrium (the mucous membrane lining the uterus) of 5.2 mm thickness against the normal 7-12 mm thickness it was impossible for Radhika to conceive. Such complications are crucial for patients and it’s the most difficult aspects of IVF procedure. Multiple procedures, including platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) to thicken her endometrium before the actual IVF procedure were performed. Her decision to get her eggs frozen before starting the cancer treatment helped,” said Dr Rai.

According to doctors, PRP therapy is proving to be a boon for such patients. The therapy involves extracting platelets through the centrifugation process from the patient’s blood. The therapy also improves the body’s resistance. The patient underwent three PRP therapy sessions with 3-5 ml of platelet-rich plasma injected at regular intervals. Significant growth was observed after each session. The thickness of endometrium at the end of 14-day therapy was found to be 8.2 mm, which is enough to conceive and healthy implantation of the embryo through IVF technique.

IVF method
However, before starting the treatment for cancer Radhika had her ovaries frozen, said Dr Mandavi Rai, IVF expert at Indira IVF Hospital, here, who treated her. Pixabay

For Radhika, once the once the endometrium lining reached 8.2 mm progesterone was started with the help of her frozen eggs and her husband’s sperms leading to formation of embryos, which were cultured until two blastocysts were transferred. After four weeks, an ultrasound confirmed intrauterine gestational sac with cardiac activity. “High-risk obstetric care was provided throughout the treatment. The patient underwent elective caesarean and delivered a boy, weighing 3 kg with no abnormalities,” said Dr Mandavi.

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Terming it a unique case, doctors said delivering a baby by cancer patients post chemotherapy gets tougher with the age. “Cryo-preservation and PRP techniques are gaining popularity among Indians. Several working women, especially in their early 30’s, have started opting for egg freezing,” said Dr Sagarika Aggarwal, a Delhi-based gynaecologist.

“Hemotherapy, which is treatment involving the administration of fresh blood, a blood fraction, or a blood preparation, in most cases acts as a big challenge for IVF treatment as chemotherapeutic drugs deplete the quantity as well as quality of eggs. Conceiving after cancer treatment through IVF is rare and the success rate is very low,” said Dr Nupur Gupta, gynaecologist, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon. (IANS)

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Health System Failure for Cancer Patients in Venezuela

Last year, about 4,700 women in Venezuela became ill with breast cancer, according to the Anticancer Society of Venezuela

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Cancer
Cancer Patients are not just afraid of the disease itself, but they also fear dying because they cannot find or afford the necessary treatment. Pixabay

A breast cancer diagnosis is terrifying enough at any time. But for 49-year-old Grecia Solis, the arduous choices faced by all cancer patients were complicated by the crippling decline of Venezuela’s public health facilities.

After her diagnosis two years ago, doctors recommended surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Before the oil-producing nation’s steep economic decline of recent years, those services would have been available free of charge or for a nominal fee at a state-run public hospital.

But trained staff, medicines and equipment are in such short supply at those facilities today that a public hospital was no longer an option. Instead, Solis was forced to borrow money from family and friends to pay for her operation at a privately run, for-profit clinic.

Her operation, performed in May 2018, cost her $500, a modest amount by U.S. standards, but a huge sum in Venezuela where hyperinflation has ravaged most people’s savings. With additional financial help from a sister in Ecuador, Solis was able to pay for the recommended eight sessions of chemotherapy, which were completed in December.

Solis’ story is a common one among cancer patients in Venezuela. Patients are not just afraid of the disease itself, but they also fear dying because they cannot find or afford the necessary treatment.

Last year, about 4,700 women in Venezuela became ill with breast cancer, according to the Anticancer Society of Venezuela, although the nation’s health ministry has not produced official figures since 2012. The society reported 2,300 women died last year from the disease, one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among Venezuelan women.

Cancer
A breast cancer diagnosis is terrifying enough at any time. Pixabay

Senos Ayuda, an NGO that supports breast cancer patients, estimates the number of patients are even higher, at almost 7,000 a year. And it stresses that treatment, medicine and doctors are becoming ever less accessible with the deepening of the nation’s humanitarian emergency.

The problem is part of a wider crisis in public health facilities. According to several Venezuelan doctors’ organizations, 73% of the country’s operating rooms are out of service or lack supplies and have unsanitary conditions.

A survey conducted by the organization Doctors for Health indicated that 90% of radiotherapy facilities are inoperative, 94% of health centers cannot take an X-ray, and 88% of hospitals have insufficient supplies and medicines. The Anticancer Society of Venezuela has reported that 80% of public radiotherapy equipment has been inoperative in the last year.

Solis says she is frustrated the government of President Nicolas Maduro does not accept that Venezuela is in a humanitarian crisis and has done little to address the problem, leading to avoidable cancer deaths.

Cancer
Since 2018, 400,700 women in Venezuela have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. According to the Anti-Cancer Society in Venezuela, getting an accurate numbers of patients is unlikely. Since 2012, the Ministry of Health does not offer official figures. VOA

Another patient, 58-year-old Algeria Dias, was diagnosed with a breast tumor in August 2017. She was able to afford treatment with the help of family, donations, some government help and the sale of the family car, but she says she now she spends every day “going from clinic to clinic, public and private, and see if they have the space or equipment I need to monitor my disease.”

For her part, Solis says she is running out time. She has until December to raise $5,000 to pay for more than 30 additional radiotherapy sessions to prevent the likely return of her cancer.

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“Cancer does not wait. Cancer does not warn and when you have it, it overtakes you. It hurts having the uncertainty of not knowing if you can say, “I am a cancer survivor,” she said. (VOA)