Women who are going for fertility treatments to have babies are likely to double their chances of getting ovarian cancer, according to a new study.
Scientists from the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam have found that fertility treatment makes women twice as likely to develop the disease later in life, especially low-grade tumours, the Daily Express reported.
They revealed that stimulating the ovaries of women undergoing in-vitro fertilisation increased the chances of patients being diagnosed with invasive or low-grade cancers 15 years later.
Overall, ovarian cancer rates were twice as high among women who had the treatment that forces the ovaries to produce extra eggs.
The main impact was on non-fatal, slow-growing “borderline ovarian tumours”.
The incidence of invasive tumours was higher than expected after 15 years among women who had undergone IVF.
The researchers analysed data on more than 19,146 women who had received at least one ovarian stimulation treatment, and 6,006 women who did not undergo IVF.
Of 61 women who had ovarian malignancies in the IVF treatment group, 31 had borderline ovarian cancer and 30 had invasive ovarian cancer.
“Our data clearly show that ovarian stimulation for IVF is associated with an increased risk of borderline ovarian tumours and this risk remains elevated up to more than 15 years after the first cycle of treatment,” said study leader Professor Flora van Leeuwen.
The long-term risk of potentially deadly invasive ovarian cancer was also raised.
The findings were published online in the journal Human Reproduction.