IVF Increases Risk of Ovarian Cancer

IVF Increases Risk of Ovarian CancerIn a Dutch study, published in the European journal Human Reproduction, it has being reported that women who undergo at least one In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) cycle are two-times more at risk of developing ovarian cancer than women who were infertile but do not undergo the treatment.

According to the study carried out by researchers at the Dutch Cancer Institute, which is one of the biggest studies of its kinds, women who underwent at least one IVF cycle were at higher risk for `borderline ovarian tumors'. Fertile women undertaking this treatment where they are given medication to promote the growth of eggs and having them removed were more likely to get cancer than infertile women who did not undergo the treatment.

Borderline ovarian tumors are not as dangerous as invasive ovarian cancer. They do not spread or metastasize and are not likely to cause death. They, however, grow and need to be removed and generally do not require chemotherapy.

The study was done over a period of 15 years and the longer they tracked the women in question the more they saw that the rates of invasive ovarian cancer were three times higher in women who had undergone IVF treatments than infertile women who did not.

Invasive ovarian cancer is almost never detected in its early stages and is usually pretty advanced when diagnosed. It is reported that 80% of women with this kind of cancer die because of it.

The author of the study say, "It should be explained to women opting for IVF treatment that a borderline ovarian tumor does not constitute a lethal disease, although it may require extensive surgery and cause substantial morbidity".

The researchers also found that there was no relation between the number of IVF cycles and the increase in the risk for ovarian cancer. The risk to a woman who had undergone one cycle was the same as the risk to a woman who had had many cycles.