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Cancer Rare after Fertility Treatment

Reuters,  Dec 2, 2010
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Fertility treatment drugs may not be tied to an increased risk of developing cancer, suggests a new study of more than 24,000 Swedish women treated with in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Some prior studies had hinted at a link between fertility drug use and the development of breast, uterine and ovarian cancers, but the numbers of women followed in these studies were small, lead researcher Dr. Bengt Kallen of the University of Lund, in Sweden, noted in an email to Reuters Health.

To investigate further, Kallen and his colleagues used health registries in Sweden to identify a larger group of about 24,000 women who delivered a baby following IVF treatment performed between 1982 and 2006.

They compared the rates of cancer among these women and 1.4 million other women in the general Swedish population who had also given birth during the same time period.

The researchers found that less than 2 percent of women in the IVF group developed one or more cancers after treatment (during an average follow-up of 8 years). Nearly 5 percent of women who did not undergo IVF before giving birth later developed cancer, report the researchers in the journal Human Reproduction.

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