(July 12, 2018) A study involving 58,472 women between 1994 and 2015 concluded that assisted reproductive treatment, or ART, did not lead to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Originally it was thought that the hormones used in ART would increase ovarian activity, which would in turn increase one’s risk of ovarian cancer. However, data from this study in Denmark, have shown otherwise. At first glance, the results support the original theory, because women who underwent ART had slightly higher risk (0.11%) when compared to those who did not have ART (0.06%). However, when researchers dove deeper, they realized that the slight increase in risk had more association with whether or not a woman had given birth or the reason for her infertility.
The biggest risk factors for ovarian cancer are still age and genetic factors, such as BRCA mutations. Dr. Pinborg, a gynecologist in the Fertility Department at Copenhagen University Hospital, wants to assure women that she continues to support those who are thinking of ART. “Ovarian stimulation itself is not introducing any excess risk of ovarian cancer,” adding that, “…while the relative risks appear high among some groups of women, the absolute risk of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer remain small.”