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For millions of families struggling to conceive, fertility drugs have been used as the first step of intervention to help them fulfill their dream of becoming parents. There are different types of fertility treatments available, ranging from medications to stimulate the release of eggs in a woman's natural cycle to more complex treatments such as IVF.
Depending on your situation and what's causing infertility, a fertility specialist can help you figure out which treatments are best for you.
No Increased Risk of Breast Cancer with Use of Fertility Drugs
For a long time, many patients have been concerned about the potential risk of fertility drugs causing or contributing to breast cancer. This is an important issue of concern considering an increasing number of women are seeking help to become mothers. Also, breast cancer is a common malignancy among women worldwide.
According to a recent study by researchers from Fertility and Sterility, there is no link between fertility drugs used for ovarian stimulation and breast cancer. To undertake this study, researchers analyzed medical data from 1.8 million women undergoing fertility drug treatments with no previous history of breast cancer. These women were followed up in studies for an average period of 27 years — this is one of the largest studies on the subject to date.
While the use of fertility drugs such as gonadotropins or clomiphene citrate in infertile women is associated with multiple ovulation, high estrogen levels, and an increase in breast cells, there is no meaningful increased risk of breast cancer.
Other studies have been conducted among women under IVF treatments. Similarly, no evidence has been found to show an increased risk in developing breast cancer, invasive ovarian, or uterine (endometrial) than expected from general population incidence rates.
Now that this information has been brought to light, women and couples seeking fertility treatments should feel reassured, knowing that they are not increasing their likelihood of developing breast cancer.
What Can Influence a Woman's Risk of Developing Breast Cancer?
In view of all this, it is essential to understand some of the risk factors associated with breast cancer.
For instance, having a strong family history of the disease, hormonal factors, increasing age, genetic mutations, weight gain, obesity post-menopause, etc., may increase breast cancer risk.
While these identified risk factors predispose you to the disease, it does not mean you will get breast cancer.
That said, even if your personal risk factors suggest that you have a low risk of breast cancer, it's important to work with your health care provider to discuss your options for breast cancer screening or other preventative measures.
For more information on how infertility treatment affects you, our board-certified fertility specialists are ready to help. Please schedule an appointment today, and let us help you on your pathway to pregnancy.