June 30, 2005

Infertility may be predict a risk of cancer

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women with a history of
fertility problems appear to run the risk of developing certain
cancers, new research indicates.

In a look-back study, Dr. Louise A. Brinton, of the
National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland, compared the
risk of cancer among 12,193 U.S. women treated for infertility
between 1965 and 1988 with that of the general population.

Over an average period of nearly 19 years, the infertility
patients had a 23 percent higher likelihood of developing
cancer than women in the general population, the team reports
in the medical journal Epidemiology.

The cancer risk was higher among women with primary
infertility than among those with fertility problems related to
other conditions. For patients with primary infertility, the
chances of developing uterine or ovarian cancers was especially
high, at more than twice the normal risk.

"Our findings are consistent with several investigations
that have found higher ovarian cancer risks among patients with
fallopian tube dysfunction or pelvic inflammatory disease,"
Brinton's team explains. They say this lends support to the
notion that inflammation is an important factor in ovarian

SOURCE: Epidemiology, July 2005.