Fertility Drugs and Breast Cancer
Posted at: 07/09/2012 5:08 PM
| Updated at: 07/09/2012 5:38 PM
New research takes a look at whether women who take fertility drugs are increasing their chance of breast cancer. ABC's Doctor Timothy Johnson has more in this Medical Minute.
Hormones are known to play an important role in breast cancer.
A study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute tried to determine the risk of breast cancer in younger women whose use of fertility drugs stimulated their ovaries to produce more estrogen.
The authors looked at some 1,400 pairs of sisters, some who got breast cancer under age fifty and some who didn't.
They found that women who used fertility drugs resulting in pregnancies that did not last for more than ten weeks had a decreased risk of breast cancer, but those who used fertility drugs and had a ten-weeks-or-longer pregnancy showed a small, increased risk of breast cancer.
The authors say this may be because elevated production of ovarian hormones early in drug-stimulated pregnancy may alter the normal changes in breast tissue that pregnancy brings. These women should think about talking to their doctor about the possibility of heighten screening.