U.S. women, under 45, slammed with high breast cancer rates; are fertility drugs involved?

U.S.women, under 45 years old,   experienced a 12 percent annual increase in invasive breast cancer between  2007 and 2011.  Why?

Busting Breast Cancer recently uncovered this epidemic-like trend compiling state-based data or estimated cases by age, collected by the North American Association of National Cancer Registries and published bi-annually by the American Cancer Society, in their booklet: Breast Cancer Facts and Figures.

Many women already know that breast cancer has become a younger woman’s disease, but few understand some of the most probable causes or risk factors behind this startlingly trend.

Contraceptive drug use in the U.S. has grown rapidly since 1997, with over 13 million teens and women under 50, now using some type of hormone contraceptive drug. In addition,  85,000 women in the U.S. used fertility drugs last year, an all time high.  Market researchers estimate six million or more U.S. women will have used one or more fertility drug by 2025.

Increasing numbers of international studies show that the chemical estrogens and chemical progestins, used in contraceptive and some fertility drugs,  when understood through the lens of the metabolic theory of cancer,  can  damage mitochondia and increase cell proliferation, thus initiating and/or accelerating  cancerous breast cells and thus the growth of cancerous tumors.

How many younger women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer since 2007 were using hormone contraceptive drugs or had recently used some type of hormone fertility drugs? No government agency tracks this data.

We also know that increasing profits are being made each year,  as more  women use these chemical hormones.  The U.S. contraceptive drug market is currently worth $3.8 billion;  U.S. fertility clinics enjoy another $4.4 billion each year. So long as federal cancer agencies continue to receive large amounts of annual funding from the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, there appears to be little interest in  researching the connectoins between these drugs and younger women’s increasing breast cancer rates.

A lone voice at the National Cancer Institute recently recommended the federal government spend serious dollars studying which fertility drugs might be increasing invasive breast cancer rates. Is it the synthetic estrogens/estridiol in some of the IVF (in vitro fertilization) drugs? Is it the progestin drugs, such as Elizabeth Edwards used,  enabling her to carry her youngest two children to full term?

Additional studies are needed to clarify the effects on cancer risk of fertility drugs, especially those used in conjunction with in vitro fertilization, said Louise Brinton, Chief of the Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology Branch at NCI, co-author of an article on fertility drugs and breast cancer, to be published in June in Seminars in Reproductive Medicine.





Louise A. Brinton, et al, Fertility Drugs and the Risk of Breast and Gynecologic Cancers, Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, Vol 30, No 2/2012  June 1, 2012

U.S. “Baby Business” (Infertility Services) Worth $4 Billion, Marketdata Enterprises, Inc. August 17, 2009

Eggs and SocietyBedford Stem Cell Research Foundation, Nov 4, 2011

Estimated Annual Increase in Cases of Invasive Breast Cancer in U.S. Women 2007-2011, www.bustingbreastcancer.org , May, 2012

Facts on Contraceptive Use in the United States, In Brief, Guttmacher Institute, June 2010

Pike, M, et al, Estrogens, projestogens, normal breast cell proliferation, and breast cancer risk, Epidemiology Review 1993;15: 17-35

Daniel Schramek, Josef Penninger, Laurie Glimcher, et al, Osteoclast differentiation factor RANKL controls development of progestin-driven mammary cancer,  Nature,  October, 2010