Oral Contraceptive and Breast Cancer

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work

DECEMBER 18, 2017

There has long been discussion and concern re a possible association between oral contraceptives and breast cancer risk. It looks as though older versions of the pill did contain more hormones and may have constituted a plausible risk. There is much less certainty re the newer pills.

This is a good summary and update from BreastCancer.org. It speaks not just to the pill but also to newer birth control devices that are hormonally-linked.

Do Hormonal Contraceptives Increase Breast Cancer Risk?

According to a Danish study, contraceptives that use hormones, including birth control pills and intrauterine devices (IUDs), slightly increase the risk of breast cancer. But the importance of the increase is unique to each woman and depends on many factors, including: her age,her general health,her personal risk of breast cancer other breast cancer risk factors, such as smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and maintaining a healthy weight

The study was published on Dec. 7, 2017 by the New England Journal of Medicine. Read the abstract of “Contemporary Hormonal Contraception and the Risk of Breast Cancer.”
The need for safe, effective birth control is shared by many women around the world. About 140 million women worldwide use hormonal contraception. Besides effectively stopping unwanted pregnancies, birth control pills also help control other conditions, such as acne, PMS, heavy periods, and mood swings. Research also has shown that birth control pills can slightly lower the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer. There is also some evidence that birth control pills may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Read more:http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/do-hormonal-contraceptives-increase-risk

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