While most connections between fertility issues and cancer are regarding cancer of the reproductive organs, some may have questions about the relationship between other, more common forms of cancer and trying to conceive. Here, we'll address any relationship between what is a very common cancer -- cancer of the breast -- and infertility.
In general, there is a connection between the amount of exposure a woman has to estrogen and her risk of breast cancer. More and longer exposures to estrogen, whether through a woman's own bodily means or through administered estrogen, generally equal a greater risk. Some of the factors that may relate to women who are experiencing infertility are:
One study comparing women who had undergone IVF versus those who had not found a higher incidence than expected for breast and uterine cancer within 12 months of exposure to fertility drugs with IVF. It should be noted, however, that the overall incidence of breast and ovarian cancer were no greater than expected in the general population. Also, the study found no association between the number of IVF treatment cycles and the incidence of breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer.
The same study found that those with unexplained infertility as a diagnosis had significantly more cancers of the ovaries or uterus, regardless of whether they participated in IVF or not.
Regarding the higher incidence within 12 months of drug exposure, the researchers suggest two possible reasons:
To explain the high occurrence of cancers in the unexplained infertility population, the researchers suggest that, perhaps, the underlying cause of their infertility was indeed undetected cancer.
The researchers themselves add that certain variables which may have related impact were not taken into consideration in this study, including
© Tracy Morris