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expert reaction to study on infertility in women and cancer risk

Research published in Human Reproduction demonstrate that infertile women may have a higher risk of certain cancers in the years after infertility evaluation.

Prof. Justin Stebbing, NIHR Research Professor of Cancer Medicine and Medical Oncology, Imperial College London, said:

“This is very interesting research that needs to be looked into further to understand it better. In particular, we not only need to carry out further research with longer follow-up to determine what factors may be influencing the long-term risk of cancer for infertile women, but we need to understand how and why this occurs. Are there cancer-causing genes for example that may predispose people to infertility and do we need to better follow up infertile women to watch them more closely for cancer?

“One of the limitations of the study is the low incidence of cancer outcomes in reproductive age women. Furthermore, population health level databases are subject to a variety of limitations. The associations with pregnancy are intriguing and require more work and I am working on this too.”

‘Risk of cancer in infertile women: analysis of US claims data’ by Murugappan et al. was published in Human Reproduction at 00:05 UK time on Wednesday 13 March 2019.

Declared interests

None received. 

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