Although breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among women, thanks to excellent research and effective treatment, the number of women who lose their lives to the disease is on the decline. This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, our New York fertility doctor answers a question we often hear from hopeful moms – is there a link between breast cancer and fertility treatment?
Every year, about 220,000 U.S. women are diagnosed with breast cancer, but it’s not just a “woman’s disease.” About 2,000 men are diagnosed annually in the United States, and the illness claims the lives of roughly 400 men and 40,000 women every year.
Women who need fertility treatment may worry that the medications could increase their risk of breast cancer. However, a comprehensive study published in 2016 found no link between breast cancer and fertility treatment in women who underwent ovarian stimulation for IVF or other fertility treatments.
In that study of more than 25,000 women, breast cancer risk about 21 years after IVF was not very different from that of women who didn’t need IVF, and it was also about the same as the risk level of the general population.
Just to be on the safe side, all women in our care receive a breast exam before beginning fertility treatment, followed by further imaging tests if any suspicious areas are found.
If you have a family history of breast cancer and want to know your own risk, we recommend genetic screening to determine if you carry the BRCA gene mutation.
To learn more about breast cancer and fertility treatment, contact us to schedule an appointment with our New York fertility doctor.