Fertility issues raise the risk of cancer in women, according to research that suggests they are 18 per cent more likely to develop the disease
- Study found that women with fertility problems are 18% more likely to get cancer
- Researchers tracked more than 64,000 women with fertility problems
- Results show that two per cent of infertile women were diagnosed with cancer
Infertile women are at greater risk of getting cancer, according to researchers.
A study has found that women with fertility problems are 18 per cent more likely to get cancer, in particular womb and ovarian cancers.
That may be because women who need IVF are given powerful drugs which alter their hormone levels. Infertile women may also have genetic problems which raise their risk of cancer as well as childlessness.
A study has found that women with fertility problems are 18 per cent more likely to get cancer
Researchers tracked more than 64,000 women with fertility problems over almost four years, comparing their medical records with those of three million fertile women.
The results show that two per cent of infertile women were diagnosed with cancer in that time, compared to just 1.7 per cent of women without fertility problems.
Dr Gayathree Murugappan, lead author of the study from Stanford University in the US, said: ‘We do not know the causes of the increase in cancer that we found in this study – whether it might be the infertility itself, the causes of the infertility, or the infertility treatment.
‘We can only show there is an association between them. In the future, we hope that we will be able to understand why infertile women are at a higher risk of cancer, for example, by identifying a common, underlying mechanism that can cause cancer and infertility.’
The researchers stressed that infertile women’s increased risk was small, adding: ‘The low overall incidence of cancer among these women means one in 49 infertile women would develop cancer during the follow-up period compared to one in 59 of the women who were not infertile.’