Are infertility treatments safe for former cancer patients?Q: What is the research showing about the increased risk of cancer reoccurrence if a woman uses infertility treatment to get pregnant after being treated for cancer?

A: According to Humberto Scoccia, MD. A woman’s risk for breast cancer recurrence varies according to the stage of her cancer and the receptor status (estrogen, progesterone and other cancer markers). However, fertility medication after cancer treatment is a reasonable option for women who have been cleared by their cancer specialist to undergo fertility treatment. One fertility option for patients after cancer treatment is to consider the use of letrozole, which is FDA approved for use for breast cancer, but also can be used for induction of ovulation as a non-FDA approved indication. This drug lowers circulating estrogen levels and may decrease the future chance for cancer recurrence.

Humberto Scoccia, MD is an Professor and Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. For more information on this topic, listen to the Creating a Family radio show: Infertility Treatment and Breast/Ovarian Cancer.


Image Credit: Laura Gilmore