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IVF Doesn't Increase Breast, Ovarian Cancer Risk

Update Date: Feb 18, 2013 08:20 AM EST

A new study has found that in vitro fertilization does not increase a woman's risk of breast cancer or other types of cancers, according to Reuters Health.

Previous research has found an association between IVF treatments and a risk of certain cancers like breast and ovarian cancers.

Although IVF treatments can increase stress and depression in people, Medline Plus too says that the treatments themselves don't increase the risk of cancers.

"The findings were fairly reassuring. Nothing was significantly elevated," said lead author Louise Brinton, chief of the Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology Branch at the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland, reports Reuters Health.

The study included more than 87,403 women, of which 67,000 women had undergone IVF treatments between 1994 and 2011, and nearly 20, 000 women who wanted to undergo the treatments but never did.

Then, data from cancer registry showed that by 2011, some 1,509 of these women were diagnosed with cancer.

There was no increase in the risk of breast cancer for women who had undergone IVF. However, there was some risk of women developing ovarian cancer. But, experts feel that the additional risk may be due to an underlying problem with the ovaries and not with the treatment.

"Infertile women have a primary problem with their ovaries and IVF has nothing to do with it. It's a rather difficult thing to disentangle if there is an effect from the hormones or from the IVF procedure," Bengt Kallen, director of the Tornblad Institute at Lund University, Sweden told Reuters Health. Kallen had found a similar association between IVF treatments and cancer risk in a previous research on the subject.

The study can be found here.     

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