Hormones can play an important role in how breast cancer develops and grows. The medicines used to treat women's infertility problems affect hormone levels. So researchers wondered whether infertility treatments might increase breast cancer risk.
A study shows that infertility treatments didn't increase breast cancer risk. A very small group of women who received progesterone (a hormone) did seem to have a higher risk of breast cancer. But the number of women who received progesterone was so small that the researchers couldn't say with certainty that progesterone infertility treatment increases breast cancer risk. Progesterone is typically given when a woman decides to try in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
A large research study found that women who had certain infertility problems had a 25% lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who did not have infertility problems. This study also found that infertility treatments did not increase breast cancer risk.
RESOLVE is an organization that provides education and support to people with fertility problems. RESOLVE is based in Somerville, Mass. and has 50 local chapters in the United States. For more information, visit www.resolve.org or call 888-623-0744.
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