"If we find out that women who receive several IVF cycles or large doses of ovarian-stimulating drugs are at a greater risk of ovarian cancer, then these women would need to be informed about these risks when continuing IVF treatment and possibly advised to discontinue treatment after three to six cycles (depending on which number of cycles would be associated with the high risk of ovarian malignancies)," van Leeuwen noted.
The International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS) issued a statement in response to the new study findings. In it, general secretary of the IFFS, Richard Kennedy of Coventry, England, said: "Over the last decade, several reports have considered the long-term risks of ovarian stimulation practiced as part of the IVF process. These reports have been generally reassuring in terms of risk of ovarian cancer."
However, Kennedy added, "This new research has highlighted the presence of an increased risk of borderline tumors . . . and has once again posed a question about the long-term risks of ovarian stimulation further confounded by the known underlying risks for these patients. The IFFS remains of the view that the long-term risks are low but calls for continued vigilance through reporting of long-term outcomes with international collaboration."
The American Cancer Society has more about ovarian cancer.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCES: Human Reproduction, news release, Oct. 26, 2011; International Federation of Fertility Societies, statement, Oct. 26, 2011
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