When Natasha was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive breast cancer at just 32, her world fell apart.
Doctors told her she’d need chemotherapy--but she knew a common long-term side effect of this was the early onset of menopause.
Natasha had always wanted to be a mom, so this news was devastating.
“I left the doctor’s office and I had a meltdown right there in the street. I’d always wanted kids, so I was absolutely distraught.”
Shortly after, Natasha’s doctor told her about the POEMS clinical trial, which was testing if a drug called goserelin could preserve fertility during cancer treatment. Natasha was one of 58 women in Australia and New Zealand who participated in the trial, which involved 256 women worldwide.
Every four weeks during her chemotherapy treatment, Natasha received the drug. The doctors hoped the drug would trigger a reversible menopause by putting her ovaries “to sleep."
Natasha was "ecstatic" to find out she was pregnant just six months after completing her chemotherapy, something that came as a complete surprise. “I know how lucky I am to have fallen pregnant and to have a beautiful, healthy little boy called Jack. I am overjoyed that my participation in the POEMS clinical trial helped me."
"I am also delighted that I helped prove--along with other women around the world--this new treatment option for young women like me who need chemotherapy and who might want to have a family in the future.”
The POEMS clinical trial found that women who received the drug goserelin were less likely to be in menopause two years after their cancer treatment (8 per cent compared to 22 per cent). They were also twice as likely to have a normal pregnancy after their cancer treatment, compared with those who did not receive goserelin. Even better, this new treatment can help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, enabling many to avoid early menopause and preserve their fertility.