HealthDay News — Women who undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) are not at increased risk of breast cancer, according to a study published in the July 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Alexandra van den Belt-Dusebout, PhD, of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, and colleagues followed 19,158 women who underwent IVF between 1983 and 1995. The women averaged 33 years of age when the study began, and underwent an average of between three and four IVF cycles. By the time the women had reached age 54, Belt-Dusebout’s team compared their breast cancer rates to that of 5,950 other women of similar age who had not undergone IVF.

The risk for breast cancer among the women who had IVF was similar to the risk of women who didn’t have IVF, the researchers found. The cumulative rate of breast cancer was 3.0% for the IVF group, compared to 2.9% for the non-IVF group. The study’s authors also found that the type of fertility drugs the women received had no effect on their risk for breast cancer. Women who had seven or more IVF cycles had a much lower risk for breast cancer than those who underwent just one or two rounds of the treatment.

“These findings are consistent with absence of a significant increase in long-term risk of breast cancer among IVF-treated women,” the authors write.

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