Tuesday, October 18, 2011

IF Medication and Cancer?

I'm blown away by the news that Guiliana Rancic has breast cancer. About a year ago I stumbled upon her reality show when she had her first failed IVF cycle. It was really eye opening tv that hit pretty close to home. Most celebrities hide their infertility issues yet she was brave enough to lay it out there for the world to see.

And now this breast cancer diagnoses.

My aunt went through multiple IVF cycles which resulted in no pregnancies (she later divorce, got remarried, and got pregnant on her own naturally, twice). At age 40 she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer which she has been battling for the last 10 years. Her cancer is estrogen-driven (it's my understanding that not all breast cancers are like this). When she found out that I was using medication to stimulate my ovaries she told me she thought her cancer was caused by the medications she took when was trying to conceive. Of course her doctor really hasn't put much stock into her theory, however it is interesting that the news of Giuliana's cancer is bringing this controversial subject into focus.

Although I heard the original announcement from the Rancic camp stating her doctor insisted on her receiving a mammogram before she went through hormone treaments and potential pregnancy because the increased estrogen could accelerate any existing cancer; I've now heard reporters stating that IVF can cause cancer. I'm sure the reporters are just misinterpreting the news but it does make me pause. Was Rancic's doctor correct to state that IF meds can accelerate some existing cancers? Should we all be required to go through a mammogram prior to starting medicated IF cycles? I know it would give me a peace of mind just to have a follow up mammogram after the baby is born. I did have one done two years ago (which I had to fight with my family doctor to get) and it showed three false positives which were ruled out in a subsequent mammogram.

I just hope, in Guiliana's case that they caught it early enough so that she will not have to go through extensive rounds of treatment and will be able to get back on TTC wagon in the next few years. This woman needs something to go her way!

Thank you for the previous comments regarding my potential new job. My family is the most important thing to me and I have been seriously considering calling the Georgia job and telling them I'm not interested (although it looks like an awesome place to live). I think I can survive working here for a couple more months which in the interim, I hope I can find a job closer to family and friends. It would really be nice to be closer to a solid support system. I have a tendency to be overly independent but I really need to start thinking like a protective mother and not a single person with no responsibilities.


SurlyMama said...

When my RE switched me from Clomid to injectible meds I actually had to sign an acknowledgement that I was aware that this meds were associated with an increase rate in certain cancers - breast and ovarian.

My mother was put on estrogen replacement therapy following a hysterectomy, and later developed breast cancer. The doctors have always made the assumption that it was because of the extra estrogen and this was almost 20 years ago.

I've always thought it was a general known assumption that certain fertility meds could cause an increased chance of cancer.

Single Mom 2b said...

As I understand it, Dr. Schoolcraft insists on mammograms prior to cycle because breast cancer can feed on estrogen which is naturally much higher during a pregnancy. It's not about the IVF meds. I also had to have an updated mammogram before being permitted to cycle at CCRM.

Good luck with your decision!!

Jen said...

This is interesting. When I asked my doctor specifically about putting myself at risk for cancer with repeated IVF cycles, I was told that it doesn't. His response was that if you do get pregnant, the risk of certain cancers actually decreases. I many need to revisit this with him.