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Early menopause 'on the increase'

Women who overcome cancer in childhood are more likely to experience an early menopause, according to a new study.

The review found that 8% of all females who survive childhood cancers experience premature ovarian failure.

Those who received radiotherapy and alkylating agents were found to be up to 40% more likely to suffer an early menopause.

Early menopause currently affects one in 100 women and sees them lose the function of their ovaries before the age of 40.

The review found the number of cases of early menopause are increasing because more women are surviving childhood cancers.

Puneet Arora, Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Hope Hospital, Salford, and a co-author of the review said: "Premature ovarian failure is usually permanent but ovarian activity can resume in some cases.

"Women who are diagnosed with the condition need support as these women are often anxious and depressed. However, recent scientific advances in assisted conception provide hope to women."

The review has been published in The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist