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A 47-year-old female asked:

Heard again that fertility drugs are linked to ovarian cancer. thought that was not true. now not sure what to believe. do i need ultrasounds yearly?

5 doctor answers18 doctors weighed in
Dr. George Kingsley III
Obstetrics and Gynecology 32 years experience
Infertility Yes Rx N: Infertility and having no children are independent risk factors for ovarian cancer. Some injectable super-ovulation drugs had some initial concern for increasing cancer risk but most believe that any increase in risk is minimal. No specific screening is recommended for ovarian cancer. Ca-125 testing and ultrasound have not been effective at determining who will develop ovarian cancer.
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Dr. Julian Escobar
Specializes in Fertility Medicine
Infertility is associated with increased cancer risk. A large Scandinavian study showed that fertility medications are not associated. However, there may be a small increased risk after 12 cycles of Clomid. Having said so, there is little evidence that more than 6 cycles of clomid is effective, thus there is no reason to do more than 12.
Nov 3, 2011
Dr. Andrew Silverman
Fertility Medicine 50 years experience
The more common drug Clomid is associated with an increased risk of a low malignant potential ovarian cancer if taken more than 12 cycles in your life.
Nov 4, 2011
Dr. Sahba Ferdowsi
General Practice 19 years experience
Great answers.
Feb 1, 2012
Dr. Johnnie Ham
Obstetrics and Gynecology 23 years experience
Sort of: I agree with the previous answer. Here's the way to see it conceptually..The more stimulation and turnover of any cell line, like those in the ovary, the more there is a risk of an error or mistake in the new line of cells, so the short answer is yes. But, the actual increased risk is minimal. Then monitor with sonos, annual pelvic exams, and both ca125 and he4 tests. Plus, eat right.
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Dr. Michael Traub
Fertility Medicine 20 years experience
No: Many years ago, there was a poorly done study linking women who took a certain fertility drug for more than 1 year to ovarian cancer. Since that time no link has been found. Even in that past study, women who had a least 1 child had no increased risk. We know that woman who never give birth have a higher risk of ovarian cancer. There is no reason to believe fertility drugs increase this risk!
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Dr. Joshua Klein
Fertility Medicine 17 years experience
A qualified no: A very recent study did show a possible association between fertility medication and a specific type of low-risk ovarian cancer. It is unclear if this is a real phenomenon, and unclear if the risk is merely associated with or actually caused by fertility meds. And at worst, it would be a very small effect. But yearly ultrasounds are not a good screening test for ovarian cancer! talk to your doctor.
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Dr. Devon Webster
Medical Oncology 23 years experience
No ultrasounds: Anything that stimulates the ovaries can theoretically increase risk for ovarian cancer, whether fertility drugs or the constant stimulation of uninterrupted monthly cycles in women who never get pregnant. However, the risk is low. There is no good screening test for ovarian cancer, so just pay attention to your body and let your doctor know of any abdominal discomfort. And try not to worry!
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Mar 12, 2020

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