Thursday April 25, 2019

Infertility in women could indicate higher risk of early death

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Infertile women have 10 per cent higher chance of dying prematurely than those able to conceive and are 45 per cent more likely to die from breast cancer, a large study has found.

The findings, presented at the annual congress of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in San Antonio, suggest that having a baby could have a rejuvenating effect on the health of a woman.

The results have prompted calls for women who struggle to conceive to be screened for certain cancers, the Telegraph reported on Monday.

While it is not known for sure what links infertility and early mortality, the stark association with breast cancer, plus a 70 per cent increased risk of death from diabetes, points strongly towards hormone-related disorders.

“Associations between infertility and medical disease have been noted in the male population, the relationship between a woman’s fertility and her overall health has not been as robustly examined,” lead researcher Natalie Stentz from University of Pennsylvania in the US was quoted as saying.

“The study highlights the fact that a history of infertility is indeed related to women’s lifelong health and opens potential opportunities for screening or preventative management for infertile women,” Stentz added.

The study followed more than 78,000 women for 13 years, 14 per cent of whom reported infertility, an inability to conceive for one year or more.

Even though the incidence of diabetes was similar in fertile and infertile women, infertile women experienced an increased risk of death from endocrine-related diseases, including diabetes and breast cancer.

Infertility was not, however, linked to increased rates of ovarian or uterine cancers.

“One of the things we do know is that having a baby at some point in a woman’s life is protective for health,” Stentz said.(IANS)

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Infertile Women Tend to Develop High risk of Cancer

For the study, the team analysed data from 64,345 infertile women who were followed for nearly four years

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infertile, cancer
Infertile women had an overall 18 per cent higher risk of developing cancer compared to women who were not infertile. Pixabay

Infertility is associated with a higher risk of developing cancer in women of childbearing age, say researchers including one of Indian-origin.

The findings, published in the journal Human Reproduction, showed that infertile women had an overall 18 per cent higher risk of developing cancer compared to women who were not infertile.

However, the absolute risk is very low at just two per cent compared to 1.7 per cent among women who are not infertile, found researchers at Stanford University in the US.

“We do not know the causes of the increase in cancer that we found in this study, whether it might be the infertility itself, the causes of the infertility, or the infertility treatment,” said lead author Gayathree Murugappan.

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They also found a slightly higher risk of cancers of the lung, thyroid, liver and gallbladder and leukaemia among the infertile women. Pixabay

“We can only show there is an association between them,” she added.

For the study, the team analysed data from 64,345 infertile women who were followed for nearly four years.

Although breast cancer was the most common in both fertile and infertile women, the team found a slightly higher risk of hormone-driven cancers of the ovary and uterus among the infertile women.

They also found a slightly higher risk of cancers of the lung, thyroid, liver and gallbladder and leukaemia among the infertile women.

“While several of these associations were significant, it is important to note that the absolute increases in risk were modest,” said Murugappan.

infertile, cancer
For the study, the team analysed data from 64,345 infertile women who were followed for nearly four years. Pixabay

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“The low overall incidence of cancer among these women means that one in 49 infertile women would develop cancer during the follow-up period compared to one in 59 women who were not infertile,” said Michael Eisenberg, Associate Professor at the varsity.

Further research needs to be carried out to determine what factors may be influencing the long-term risk of cancer for infertile women, Eisenberg noted. (IANS)