News that reality TV star Giuliani Rancic has early-stage breast cancer has some medical experts wondering if her attempts at having a child could be causing her illness.

What concerns some doctors are the hormones prescribed during the fertilization process. It is known that hormones can accelerate the growth of cancers. Rancic had attempted in-vitro fertilization two previous times without success, and her fertilization specialist refused to begin a third procedure until she had a mammogram.

Rancic discussed her cancer diagnosis with Ann Curry on Monday's Today broadcast:


Rancic had none of the traditional risk factors for breast cancer. It didn't run in her family. She's only 36 - about 95% of breast cancer cases involve women 40 and older. Yet Rancic believes her fertility specialist's order saved her life.

But many reproductive specialists say there is no real link between fertilization treatments and breast cancer. Dr. Mark Perloe, of Georgia Reproductive Specialists, says mammograms are rarely recommended by fertility doctors, unless a patient is over 40, or in a family with a history of breast cancer. Adrian V. Lee, of the University of Pittsburgh, notes that, based on research in Sweden, in-vitro fertilization does not increase the risk of cancer, indeed may lower it.

Would you undergo in-vitro fertilization without full testing, including a mammogram? The evidence says you're probably safe. But anything is possible. Let us know what you'd do, either here or on our Facebook page.