A cancer diagnosis may increase a woman’s risk of developing breast, endometrial, thyroid, or ovarian cancer. But the cancer itself is not the main factor in the increased risk of these diseases. Surgery can cause scarring around the reproductive organs, known as adhesions. These can block the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or uterus, preventing the eggs from traveling to meet sperm. As a result, eggs cannot be fertilized or implanted in the uterus. Likewise, radiation treatments can also affect fertility.
Increased risk of breast cancer
The increased risk of breast cancer following fertility treatment may be due to the temporary surges and drops in hormones during IVF procedures. This has led experts to speculate that there could be a link between fertility drugs and breast cancer. The study was led by Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She questioned the methodology and choice of a control group.
Increased risk of endometrial cancer
One study has linked clomiphene citrate with an increased risk of endometrial cancer after fertility treatments. The study was published in the Int J Cancer journal. The researchers looked at reproductive factors, such as the age of a woman at the time she first became infertile, as well as her risk for developing endometrial cancer. The researchers concluded that the increase in cancer risk was due to a change in hormone balance, which is related to the type of fertility treatment a woman has had.
Increased risk of thyroid cancer
A new meta-analysis has found a link between fertility treatment and an increased risk of thyroid cancer. The study compared the risk of cancer in nulliparous women exposed to fertility drugs with a matched control group of parous women who never received fertility treatments. The researchers looked at all published studies to determine the exact association. These results indicate that fertility drugs do increase the risk of thyroid cancer in women, but the extent to which these drugs cause thyroid cancer is unknown.
Increased risk of ovarian cancer
The increased risk of ovarian cancer with fertility treatment has been debated. In the early 1990s, several studies reported that fertility drugs increased ovarian cancer risk. However, these studies were not able to show a consistent link. One study, conducted in Norway, examined eight case-control studies to examine fertility drugs and ovarian cancer risk in women with nulliparity. The authors concluded that fertility drugs increased ovarian cancer risk in women with nulliparity by about twofold.
Increased risk of thyroid cancer after IVF
A new study suggests that women who undergo fertility treatments may be more likely to develop thyroid cancer. It looked at data on 140,000 women in Denmark. The results showed that fertility drugs increased the risk of thyroid cancer, but the overall risk is still low. Despite this new information, many couples are opting for natural fertility alternatives instead of fertility drugs. But the truth is not so clear. The study findings do not completely disprove previous findings.