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The researchers examined data from more than 58,000 women in Denmark who had infertility treatments (ART, or assisted reproduction technology) between 1994 and 2015. The investigators then compared them with more than 549,000 women who did not undergo ART.
"We found that the higher risk of ovarian cancer among women having assisted reproduction treatment was only present among those with diagnosed female infertility," said study author Anja Pinborg. She is a professor in the fertility department at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, in Denmark.
"And in a general population we saw that ovarian stimulation does not seem to increase the risk of ovarian cancer," she added.
The findings were presented July 3 at a meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, in Barcelona. The study addresses long-held concerns that the fertility drugs could be a risk factor for ovarian cancer.
In a meeting news release, Pinborg said the results are "reassuring," and added that she "would advise infertile women contemplating ART treatment to go ahead. Ovarian stimulation itself is not introducing any excess risk of ovarian cancer."
Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
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SOURCE: European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, news release, July 3, 2018