Clomid and Cancer
Clomid and Cervical cancer
Cancer of the cervix is not a type of cancer that is generally regarded as being responsive to hormones. Some studies however suggested that there may be some relationship to the number of deliveries a woman has had. Women with infertility were found in a few studies to have a lower risk for cervical cancer.
Women who used clomid, in one study, had an even lower risk for developing cancer. The reasons for this apparent protective effect of clomid are unclear.
Clomid and Uterine Cancer
Uterine cancer, also known as endometrial cancer, is a type of cancer that is influenced by hormones. Use of estrogen has been linked in several studies with the development of uterine cancer. In addition, women who are obese and women who do not ovulate regularly are also at higher risk for developing uterine cancer. Women who don’t ovulate produce estrogen but do not produce progesterone. It is the unopposed action of estrogen on their uterus’ that is thought to increase the risk. The available evidence suggests that the risk of developing uterine cancer can be reduced by having a woman take progesterone supplements in addition to estrogen. If she is not ovulating, getting regular ovulation to occur is thought to reduce the risk.
Fertility drugs like clomid work by blocking the effects of estrogen in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. However, they ultimately result in eggs being produced. when eggs are developing, estrogen levels will increase. It is possible, therefore, that this increase in estrogen levels may also increase uterine cancer risk.
Studies thus far have produced no clear evidence that the use of clomid would increase the risk of uterine cancer. A recent study from the American Journal of Epidemiology tried to determine if there was a link between clomid and uterine cancer.
The results of this study suggest that clomid may increase the risk of uterine cancer. However, there are several problems with the way the study was conducted, the results therefore have to be taken with a grain of salt.
First of all, even though this was the largest study ever to look at this problem, there were only 39 cases of uterine cancer from which to draw results. The study, which looked at women who had treatments done on the past was plagued by problems such as being unable to locate 20% of the patients and 11% refusing to release their medical records. This could significantly bias the results. In addition, of those women who were found, almost half didn’t complete a questionnaire.
Another troubling aspect is that the authors of the study never explain why the ovulation that clomid produces didn’t negate the risk.
In sum, it is very difficult based on this study to say that clomid definitely increases the risk of uterine cancer. It is sufficient to say at this time that further studies should be done.
Clomid and Ovarian Cancer
To date, only one study has found an association between clomid use and ovarian cancer. In that study, only women who took clomid for more than one year were at increased risk. The type of ovarian cancer that was identified is known as ovarian cancer of low malignant potential which is also known as borderline ovarian cancer.
It is believed that this type of cancer may represent a very early form of cancer and is therefore more curable.
There are two interpretations of this study. One, is that the clomid was responsible for the development of more cancers in these women. Another interpretation is that these women prone to the development of ovarian cancer anyway and the use of the clomid allowed them to be diagnosed at an earlier, more curable stage. Thus, the clomid may have been helpful to these patients by allowing them to be diagnosed earlier.