Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
Low levels of vitamin D may raise the risk that women will develop uterine fibroids, which are benign tumors that can cause discomfort and bleeding. The New York Times reports on the new study, published in the journal Epidemiology, that makes the connection:
Researchers randomly selected 620 black and 410 white women, ages 35 to 49, and determined their vitamin D levels with blood tests and their health status with questionnaires. Their analysis appears in the May issue of Epidemiology.
About two-thirds of the women had fibroid tumors. In the entire group, only 10 percent of the black women and 50 percent of white women had vitamin D levels above 20 nanograms per milliliter, generally considered an adequate level.
After adjusting for age, physical activity, sun exposure and other variables, they found that having a vitamin D level above 20 decreased the risk for fibroids by 32 percent, and that each increase of 10 nanograms per milliliter in vitamin D was associated with a 20 percent lower risk of having a fibroid tumor.
Image: Vitamin D supplements, via Shutterstock
Friday, October 28th, 2011
Drugs that stimulate egg production in women’s ovaries, an integral part of the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) process, double the chances of women developing either cancerous or “borderline” ovarian tumors, a Dutch study has found. The cancer rates remain relatively low, but the findings have researchers urging further study of potential risk.
Reuters reports that the study examined 25,000 women over 15 years and found that IVF patients were twice as likely to develop ovarian malignancies as women who struggled with fertility but did not undergo IVF.
The risk was greater with borderline tumors, which contain abnormal cells but are not yet cancerous. Often, surgery to remove borderline tumors results in the removal of the entire ovary.
Experts emphasize that “risk” is not the same as “likelihood.” Of the 19,000 IVF patients who were studied, only 61 ovarian malignancies were detected, which is a low percentage of the full group.
“The results should be kept in proportion as the increase shown was from around five in a thousand to seven per thousand women,” Peter Braude of Kings College London, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters.
Fertility treatments and cancer were already in the news after Giuliana Rancic revealed that she discovered she has breast cancer after her fertility doctor insisted on a mammogram. A Cleveland Clinic doctor told Parents.com, “IVF drugs do not cause cancer,” though women with risk factors should discuss their overall health picture with their doctors.
(image via: http://www.wellsphere.com)