Methods Used for Ovary Suppression in Women with Breast Cancer

Harold J. Burnstein, MD, PhD

Harold J. Burstein, MD, PhD, a medical oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, explains how ovary suppression is done in patients with breast cancer. This is a particularly important treatment for younger women who still wish to have children one day.

Harold J. Burstein, MD, PhD, a medical oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, explains how ovary suppression is done in patients with breast cancer. This is a particularly important treatment for younger women who still wish to have children one day.

Ovary suppression can be done in 1 of 2 ways, and both have proven successful in a number of cases and trials. The first option is to completely remove the ovaries surgically. This is not the preferred method, but it has become a standard when a patient does not wish to continue with the second option.

The other way to perform ovary suppression involves gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist drugs given via injections monthly or once every 3 months. The is typically used first in younger women and tolerance to the drugs will be displayed between 6-12 months of the initial shot. From there, patients can choose to stay on this treatment plan or have the ovaries surgically removed.