IVF Linked To Increased Risk For Breast Cancer

The desire to become a parent is instinctual and exceedingly strong. Childless couples will go to great lengths to fill the void, often employing extreme medical procedures which they hope will result in pregnancy. In vitro fertilization (IVF) has helped millions of women achieve pregnancy, but studies have linked it to an increased risk of breast cancer, particularly in women who give birth to more than one baby. Fertility treatments are linked to an increased possibility of a woman delivering twins and triplets.

IVF is a procedure in which a woman's eggs are fertilized outside of her body. The eggs are then transferred to her uterus in the hope that they will implant and result in pregnancy.

One of the IVF-Cancer studies, which was conducted at the University Medical Center in Amsterdam, involved 19,861 women between 1983 and 1995. Of this group, 317 women developed breast cancer. Researchers found that women who had multiple births from IVF had a 44 percent greater risk of breast cancer than women who had one baby or who did not give birth. Interestingly, women who had IVF treatments that did not result in pregnancy did not have an increased breast cancer risk. Researchers have theorized that the hormones produced by multiple births may play a role in the heightened risk.

Some researchers believe that the reasons for a woman's infertility (such as hormone imbalances) may also be part of the reason for the increased cancer risks. Each individual should work with her doctor to determine the risk/benefit ratio of infertility treatments.

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women. The ACS estimates that 232,340 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed this year and about 39,620 women will die from the disease. One in eight women will develop breast cancer during the course of her lifetime.

Breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. have steadily declined since 2000. Medical experts believe the reason for the decline is an increase in early detection because more women are getting screened. Cancer treatment methods have also improved significantly in the past decade.

A woman's risk for developing breast cancer increases with age. Although there are risk factors that cannot be controlled there are many lifestyle choices that may reduce your risks. A diet that is high in fat is linked to an increased risk so it is important to eat healthy, balanced meals that include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Many women use nutritional supplements to ensure they are getting the vitamins and minerals they need to keep their immune systems strong. Vitamins A,D,E and omega-3 fish oils have been associated with a decreased cancer risk.

For optimum health, choose the best fish oil supplement on the market. Make sure whichever omega-3 supplement you choose is of high-quality and sourced from small fish like sardines and anchovies. 

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