Can Giuliana’s Fertility Story Save Your Life? Is her breast cancer a consequence of her fertility treatments? How exactly is it linked to her “infertility?”
There might be a thousand reasons for Giuliana’s breast cancer. To say that it is a direct consequence of her IVF treatments would be drawing simplistic and irresponsible conclusions.
And yet Giuliana’s fertility story and the stories of the three women I spoke of in my recent blog– Liz Tilberis and Gilda Radner who died of ovarian cancer after years of fertility treatments and Wendy Wasserstein who died of a blood disease also after years of fertility treatments— are begging us to stop and pay attention.
This is an excerpt from Wendy Wasserstein’s book, Shiksa Goddess and her conversation with Dr. Drews, her fertility specialist, after he suggested that she nmove on to intermuscularly injected Perganol…”
“You know my sister has cancer.” …
“Yes, of course I know that.”
“So is this Perganol an insane thing to do?”.
“We have no data that proves that.”…
But eventually you will.”
And we do. In 2009, a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggested that treatments for ovulation induction were linked with cancer risk. The researchers examined data from 15,030 women enrolled in the Jerusalem Perinatal Study who gave birth between 1974 and
1976 and then participated in a postpartum survey. The women were linked with the Israel Cancer Registry. A total of 1,215 women developed cancer. The 567 women who received drug treatment to induce ovulation had a 36% increased risk of developing cancer at any site.
And what do you think Dr. Ronit Calderon-Margalit, of Hadassah-Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, suggest as a result of their findings: “The potential implications of this study relate firstly to the need of further research and better registries of fertility treatments. ”
True, overall the research is inconsistent. A number of other studies point to no link between fertility drugs and cancer.
So perhaps a better question to ask is this : Is it possible that anything that happens in our bodies is unrelated? How exactly do the dots in Giuliana’s story connect with regard to fertilitytreatments and their effect on her overall health, might never be revealed. But clearly her Holy Human Loaf like mine almost twenty years ago, was asking to be heard and that call for help was muted by fertility drugs and IVF.
Is waiting for more studies the best thing we can do to guard our health? I think we can do better than that. Consider for example that the foods that boost our fertility naturally are also foods that protect us from cancer. No there are no guarantees that we’ll be immune. But we’ll be stronger to meet whatever health challenges life places in our path.
The subtitle of The Fertile Female is How the Power of Longing for a Child Can Save Your Life and Change the World. There are many ways our unborn children are saving our lives. Mostly they’re asking us to stop, take a breath and make sure the next step we take isn’t guided by desperation or a need to silence the body’s call for help.
Dear Giuliana, we here at Fertile Heart, wish you much much healing and strength on this next step toward meeting your baby halfway! And when you’re done with your cancer treatment, come to our Woodstock retreat! It’s nice here, we even have a brand new juice bar, Press & Blend! It’s not just any old juice bar, it’s one that makes cold pressed organic juices with maximum nutrient and enzyme content intact and all sorts of other goodies to support your healing. And most important: our Fertile Heart Sisterhood is here ready to cheer you on!