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Infertility Associated With Increased Cancer Risk

The July issue of the health journal Epidemiology has published a major retrospective study that indicates // that the chances of cancer are higher if there is associated infertility.

Dr. Louise A. Brinton, of the National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland, and her team followed 12,193 U.S. women treated for infertility between 1965 and 1988. She compared cancer risk among infertile women with that of the general population. The women were followed for a median of 18.8 years.

It was found that infertility patients had a 23% higher risk of developing cancer than women in the general population. The cancer risk was found to be higher among the ones who had never conceived or primary infertility patients than among those with secondary infertility. The risk for uterine and ovarian cancers was more in patients with primary infertility.

"Our findings are consistent with several investigations that have found higher ovarian cancer risks among patients with fallopian tube dysfunction or pelvic inflammatory disease," Dr. Brinton's team explains. "This lends further support to the notion of inflammation as an important agent in ovarian carcinogenesis."

SOURCE: Epidemiology 2005;16:500-507.

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