Fertility Drugs and Cancer: What You Need to Know

If you’ve been worried about how fertility drugs could potentially affect your health (or perhaps are already), fear not. While we cannot prove that there are no ill effects associated with taking fertility drugs, a study has shown that they do not increase your likelihood of developing breast cancer.

Women who have taken fertility drugs don’t need to worry any longer about increasing their risk of breast cancer. According to a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, taking the fertility drug clomiphene citrate does not impact women’s likelihood of developing the disease, despite the hormonal impact this and other fertility drugs have on the female body.

“Given the high doses of drugs received by our study participants and the lack of large increases in breast cancer risk many years after exposure, women previously exposed to such drugs should be reassured by these findings,” Louise Brinton, who is the head of research on hormone-related cancer at the National Cancer Institute, said in a statement.

Photo: Adobe Stock/vchalup
Photo: Adobe Stock/vchalup

Brinton and the researchers on her team studied more than 9,800 women between 1965 and 1988. According to the study results, no elevated risk of breast cancer was observed in the 38.1 percent of the group who reported taking clomiphene citrate at least once. However, the researchers did caution that taking 12 or more cycles of clomiphene citrate produces a slightly increased risk of developing the disease.

These findings are welcome news to the millions of women in the U.S. who struggle with fertility and want to do everything they can to increase their chances of getting pregnant. Brinton and her team plan to continue to monitor the women in the study as they age in hopes of developing a greater understanding of the long-term impact of fertility drugs.

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