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ESHRE: Reassuring Findings on Fertility Drug-Cancer Link

Thursday, July 3, 2014 (Last Updated: 07/07/2014)

THURSDAY, July 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Use of fertility drugs doesn't appear to increase a woman's long-term risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers, new research indicates. The findings were presented this week at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Munich.

Nearly 10,000 women who underwent infertility treatment in the United States between 1965 and 1988 were followed for 30 years for the study. During the follow-up, 749 cases of breast cancer, 119 cases of uterine cancer, and 85 cases of ovarian cancer were diagnosed among the women.

The researchers found "little evidence" that the use of conventional fertility drugs increased the long-term risk of breast, uterine, or ovarian cancers. However, extended use of clomiphene citrate was associated with a higher risk of breast cancer among women who used the fertility drug for 12 cycles or more, the research team said. In general, the use of gonadotrophins was not associated with increased cancer risk, except in women who remained childless after undergoing fertility treatment, the investigators found.

The findings are "generally reassuring," said study coauthor Humberto Scoccia, M.D., of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Still, he urged that women who use fertility drugs be closely monitored as they age.

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Specialties Hematology & Oncology
Family Practice
Infectious Disease
Internal Medicine

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