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Questions Swirl Around IVF and Breast Cancer

This week E! host Giuiliana Rancic announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer after her fertility doctor insisted the 36-year-old have a mammogram before he would start a third cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF). The news has raised questions about cancer and IVF, mainly:

  1. Should every woman undergoing IVF have a mammogram to screen for breast cancer beforehand?
  2. Could Rancic's breast cancer in any way be connected to fertility treatments she has already undergone?

Experts say mammograms are not a standard part of fertility treatment in women Rancic's age unless there is a family history of breast cancer or a genetic risk. In addition, there is no evidence that the fertility drugs used in IVF cause cancer. In fact, there is even some research that shows IVF lowers the risk of breast cancer.

Women should not worry unnecessarily about IVF causing cancer. On the flip side, however, a woman has been diagnosed with cancer, she should be aware that cancer treatments can cause infertility and be aware of fertility preserving techniques that are available, such as egg freezing. These FertilityAuthority articles will give you more information ...

Fertility and Breast Cancer: Freezing Your Eggs

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. What does breast cancer have to do with fertility? Breast cancer treatment often involves exposure to chemotherapy and/or radiation. Chemotherapy and radiation can dramatically increase your risk for infertility. Both of these treatments can destroy eggs — so much so that many women may become prematurely menopausal after cancer treatment. Women who do not undergo premature menopause may still suffer from significantly compromised ovarian function after cancer treatment. Read more.

Life after Cancer and Preserving Your Fertility for the Future

Women are often not made aware of the impact cancer treatment may have on their fertility; however advocates such as Alice Crisci, founder of Fertile Action, a non-profit organization that works to ensure fertile women touched by disease have the option of preserving their fertility, are trying to change that. Read more.

Five Questions to Ask about Your Fertility after a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

More than 11,000 women under 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the United States. When a young woman receives a breast cancer diagnosis, one of the last things she may be thinking of is her future ability to have children. But it is an important consideration when making treatment decisions and consulting with physicians. Read more.

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