New Fertility Drug Research Suggests Conception Drug Does Not Lead to Ovarian Cancer

Cause and effect. You read these words all the time, particularly with regard to food, drink, and drugs, and their connection to cancer. The “C” word does not set well with anyone, so whenever it is used with regard to a certain food, desert, hair spray, body wash, and so on, individuals often toss out a beloved item for fear that it causes cancer.

Fertility drugs have been viewed as something of a godsend for individuals who want to get pregnant but are unable to do so by way of natural means. For some, however, fertility drugs were another vehicle of ovarian cancer. Research from the 1990s showed an increase in tumors for those who took fertility drugs. While the study could not confirm that the tumors that developed were malignant, the increase of the presence of tumors sent an alarming notice to those who viewed fertility drugs as a last resort to get pregnant and raise a family.

A 2011 Dutch study did not help the suspicion created in the 1990s about fertility drugs. In the study, whose results spanned some fifteen years, researchers found that, of the 19,000 women who had experienced in-vitro fertilization (76% of the tested group), there were 61 cases of either benign tumors or invasive cancer. Of the 61 cancer scares, 30 (approximately 50%) were invasive cancer — meaning that these patients experienced a rather full-blown cancer where it had started to possibly affect the pelvic region, causing soreness, urination pain, and so on. Sixty-one out of nineteen thousand women does not seem like a large number, so medical researchers maintained their assurance of IVF but wanted to alert patients that some measure of risk existed.

Earlier this month, it was discovered that the results from the 1990s and the 2011 Dutch study were possibly skewed. The new study, performed this month, used 1,028 women from the Mayo Clinic’s ovarian cancer study to test against 872 women who were cancer-free. Of the women who did not have cancer, twenty-four percent claimed that they had used fertility drugs at some point in their lives. Only seventeen percent of those having ovarian cancer claimed that they had used fertility drugs. Factors such as age and birth control were added into the mix with the results; the end conclusion from the study is that fertility drugs do not influence cancer, one way or another.

The study is good news for women who want to take fertility drugs in hopes of bearing children at some point in the future. What it also shows, a gloomy conclusion, is that many other factors can lead to cancer. The results here are similar to smoking studies: some lifetime smokers puff several cigarettes a day, with no trace of cancer ever detected in their bodies. They live long lives, while others who are victims of secondhand smoke (and do not smoke themselves) die early of lung cancer, breast cancer, or some other sickness. For women who hope to be mothers, at least, the results look reassuring.

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