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Birth Control Pills And Breast Cancer History

What Else Affects Ovarian Cancer Risk

Birth Control And Breast Cancer

A womans chance of developing ovarian cancer is affected by a whole host of factors, not just the Pill and pregnancy. These include things like endometriosis, bodyweight, and smoking.

But everyones life is different, and every womans ovarian cancer risk will be influenced by a complex combination of her lifestyle and her genes. And the main cause of ovarian cancer is something none of us can control: age. Over 80 per cent of cases of the disease are in women over the age of 50 years.

The next graphic outlines some of the other factors that affect ovarian cancer risk:

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How Could Oral Contraceptives Influence Cancer Risk

Naturally occurring estrogen and progesterone stimulate the development and growth of some cancers . Because birth control pills contain synthetic versions of these female hormones, they could potentially also increase cancer risk.

In addition, oral contraceptives might increase the risk of cervical cancer by changing the susceptibility of cervical cells to persistent infection with high-risk HPV types .

Researchers have proposed multiple ways that oral contraceptives may lower the risks of some cancers, including

  • suppressing endometrial cell proliferation
  • reducing the number of ovulations a woman experiences in her lifetime, thereby reducing exposure to naturally occurring female hormones
  • lowering the levels of bile acids in the blood for women taking oral conjugated estrogens
Selected References
  • Burkman R, Schlesselman JJ, Zieman M. Safety concerns and health benefits associated with oral contraception. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2004 190:S522.

  • The Birth Control Pill And Breast Cancer

    Dear Alice,

    I was hoping you could answer a question for me about birth control pills. There is a history of breast cancer in my family . Is it true that because of this, it is unsafe for me to use birth control pills? A few friends have recently had condoms break during sex, and I am looking for a type of “backup” contraception system.


    Dear Concerned,

    The jury is still out on whether the pill may increase the risk for breast cancer in some people. Parsing out your breast cancer risk can be tricky, but there are several other birth control options if you decide to steer clear of the pill.

    With one in eight women developing breast cancer in their lifetime, many of whom have no genetic risk factors, every woman should be aware of the following precautionary and preventative steps:

    • Be aware of how your breasts normally feel and look and periodically assess whether there have been any changes. If you notice changes, like a new lump, excess discharge, dimpling, puckering, or changes in size, shape, or symmetry, consider making an appointment with your health care provider.
    • Have an annual breast exam by a health care provider.
    • Cut down on fatty foods and eat more vegetables and fruits.
    • Talk with your health care provider about current medical research findings that may apply to you.

    To discuss your contraceptive options or get more information about your risk of breast cancer, you can make an appointment with a health care provider.

    Originally published

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    Birth Control And Breast Cancer: Whats The Real Risk

    A December 2017 study has sparked conversation about the link between hormonal birth control and breast cancer risk. The study, which followed 1.8 million women in Denmark, found a slight increase in the overall risk of breast cancer among women who used oral birth control or intrauterine devices containing the hormone progestin.

    Its important to put these findings in perspective. The benefits of using modern hormonal birth control far outweigh the small increase in breast cancer risk. In fact, pregnancy actually poses more health risks than progestin IUDs or birth-control pills.

    Birth Control Pills Not Linked To Breast Cancer

    Breast cancer to depression, birth control pills can be harmful for ...

    Taking the birth control pill does not raise the risk of breast cancer in women, according to a new study published in New England Journal of Medicine and reported by the Associated Press and other news agencies. The study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, found no increased risk of breast cancer regardless of whether the women took the pills as teens or adults, for months or years, or had a family history of breast cancer.

    Nancy E. Davidson, MD, and Kathy Helzlsouer, MD, MHS, wrote an accompanying editorial for the New England Journal of Medicine, which agreed with the studys findings. Dr. Davidson is professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Helzlsouer is professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

    Dr. Helzlsouer told the Associated Press, It’s nice to be able to give good news to women about something so many women take or have taken.

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    Does The Pill Increase Your Risk Of Cancer Research Shows That Women Who Use The Birth Control Pill Have A Slightly Increased Risk Of Breast Cervical And Liver Cancer

    The pill and breast cancer risk

    Women who use the birth control pill may have a small increased risk of breast cancer. The risk is smaller for women who used the birth control pill after their first full-term pregnancy.

    The pill and cervical cancer risk

    The risk appears to be greater for developing early stage cervical cancer than it is for more advanced forms of the disease.

    The pill and liver cancer risk

    Women who took birth control pills for more than 5 years before doses and formulas changed may have a slightly higher risk of developing liver cancer.

    What Is Known About The Relationship Between Oral Contraceptive Use And Cancer

    Nearly all the research on the link between oral contraceptives and cancer risk comes from observational studies, both large prospective cohort studies and population-based casecontrol studies. Data from observational studies cannot definitively establish that an exposurein this case, oral contraceptivescauses cancer. That is because women who take oral contraceptives may differ from those who dont take them in ways other than their oral contraceptive use, and it is possible that these other differencesrather than oral contraceptive useare what explains their different cancer risk.

    Overall, however, these studies have provided consistent evidence that the risks of breast and cervical cancers are increased in women who use oral contraceptives, whereas the risks of endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancers are reduced .

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    Birth Control Pills Bring About Many Benefits

    With use of the birth control pill, there is

    However, one of the risks of being on the birth control pill, patch, ring and skipping the last week is increased exposure to estrogen. There has been an associated increase risk of breast cancer while on the medication, but it goes back to baseline when you are off the birth control pills for 5 years.

    If there is a family history is BRCA1 or 2, in a meta-analysis study of 2855 breast cancer cases and 1503 ovarian cancer cases from 18 studies, use of Oral Contraceptive Pills was associated with significant reduced risk of ovarian cancer for BRCA1/2 carriers. And a 36% reduction for every 10 years used.

    They found NO significant association between birth control pills and breast cancer risk in carriers. The OLDER had an association but NOT the newer formulations.

    However, a study of 888 Jewish women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations found 1.85 hazard ratio of breast cancer related to ever use of OCPs and 1.55 Hazard ration for paternal inheritance of BRCA, controlling for birth year, age at menarche, breastfeeding, and number of births.

    Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centers website says: Oral contraceptives may be taken to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. However, it remains uncertain whether oral contraceptives have an impact on breast cancer risk in BRCA mutation carriers.

    The CDC says even if you have a family history of breast cancer, its is category 1 to continue or start birth control pills .

    Oral Contraceptive Use As A Risk Factor For Premenopausal Breast Cancer: A Meta

    Heres How Birth Control Affects Breast Cancer Risk | NBC Nightly News
    • Chris KahlenbornCorrespondenceIndividual reprints of this article are not available. Address correspondence to Chris Kahlenborn, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, PO Box 263, Hollidaysburg, PA 16648 ContactAffiliationsDepartment of Internal Medicine, Altoona Hospital, Altoona, Pa, University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, Pa

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    Birth Control Protects Against Cancer Too

    While there may be a slightly increased risk of breast cancer diagnosis for women who use hormonal birth control, there is evidence that it can have protective benefits, too. Research shows that women who use hormonal birth have an overall survival benefit from all causes of mortality, including ovarian cancer.

    Women who use hormonal birth control are also at a lower risk for endometrial cancer, research shows. The protective benefit appears to increase over time and lasts several years after a woman stops using hormonal birth control.

    Do Birth Control Pills Reduce The Risk Of Any Other Cancers

    Yes. The pill’s protective effect against ovarian cancer has been well documented. Ovarian cancer risk is reduced by as much as 30%-50% among women taking birth control pills for at least three years. New studies show that as little as six months of use can dramatically reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, and that protective effect increases the longer a woman is on the pill.

    There was also a reduced incidence of endometrial cancer.

    And a new study suggests oral contraceptives may also reduce the risk of colorectal cancers. The European study found that women who had ever used birth control pills were about 20% less likely to develop colorectal cancers than women who had never used the pills. The reduced risk was great even if the woman had used the pills recently.

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    What Should You Do If You’re At Risk

    If you fall into any of the patterns or groups above, then you should have a chat with your GP to discuss whether a referral to a breast or genetic clinic is worthwhile. This is especially important if you are over 35 years of age.

    You should not request the combined pill from us until youre happy about your own risk of breast cancer.

    If you are currently taking the pill but are in one of the at-risk groups please dont just stop the combined pill. Talk to your GP first, as it may be fine for you to continue..


    The Pill And Cancer: Is There A Link

    Milestones in medicine timeline

    Most birth control pills contain man-made versions of the female sexhormones estrogen and progesterone. So, are they putting you at risk for cancer?

    Does your birth control pill put you at risk for cancer? Or, does it actually protect you from the disease?

    A lot of people think the pill always ups your risk of cancer, but thats simply not true, says Andrea Milbourne, M.D., Head of the Section of General Gynecology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. In many cases, it can actually lower your risk for certain cancers.

    Heres what researchers know: Oral contraceptives better known as the pill may affect a womans chances of developing breast and gynecologic cancers. In some cases, that means a bigger chance of cancer. In others, it means protection against cancer.

    The reason? Most oral contraceptives contain man-made versions of the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. Taking the pill changes your hormone levels, which can trigger or in some cases prevent some female cancers.

    Below, we break down the pills protective benefits and risks.

    Protective perks include lower ovarian and endometrial cancer risks

    Taking the pill may help cut your risk of ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. Thats probably because women who take the pill ovulate, or release eggs from the ovaries, fewer times than women who dont take the pill. The more times you ovulate over your lifetime, the more hormones youre exposed to.

    Andrea Milbourne, M.D.

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    How Much Does The Combined Pill Increase Breast Cancer Risk

    Breast cancer is rare in young women. A slight increase in risk during this time means only a small number of extra cases of breast cancer are diagnosed.

    In a group of 10,000 women who do not use the combined pill, about 40 will probably develop breast cancer between the ages of 30 and 39.

    In a group of 10,000 women who do use the combined pill for most of their 30s, about 54 will develop breast cancer between the ages of 30 and 39.

    So using the combined pill during this time causes about 14 extra cases of breast cancer in every 10,000 women.

    The Pill Might Cause A Small Increase In Breast Cancer Its Unclear If Hormonal Iuds Do The Same

    The link between birth control pills and breast cancer has been controversial, says Dr. Goldfrank. Studies looking at this have gone back and forth.

    Birth control pills might increase the risk of breast cancer a small amount, especially for women who currently use or who recently used birth control pills. Any elevated risk seems to decrease over time after stopping use.

    Even less is known about the link between hormonal IUDs and breast cancer, says Dr. Goldfrank. Its not clear yet, she says.

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    What Can I Do With All This Information

    Discuss the risks and benefits of any medication you are taking with your healthcare provider. In the case of BCPs, it is important for your provider to consider your personal and family history before prescribing BCPs. If you are at an increased risk of cancer, you may consider other options for birth control. These risks include:

    • Your family history.
    • Genetic mutations.
    • Other health concerns .

    Non-hormonal birth control options do not have an effect on your cancer risk. Your provider should inform you of all your options.

    If you took BCPs in the past talk to your provider about cancer screening tests for breast and cervical cancers that are recommended for you based on your age.

    Weighing The Pros And Cons Of Birth Control Pill Use

    Modern birth control linked to breast cancer risk, study finds

    Birth control pills have some risks including a small increased risk of breast cancer . However, in addition to preventing pregnancy, birth control pills decrease the risk of uterine and ovarian cancers .

    Before making any decisions about birth control pills , talk with your health care provider about the benefits and risks.

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    How Does The Pill Work The Most Commonly Prescribed Birth Control Pill Contains Synthetic Versions Of 2 Female Hormones Estrogen And Progesterone The Hormones Work Together To Prevent Pregnancy By Blocking The Release Of Eggs From The Ovaries

    The major benefits of taking hormonal contraceptives are:

    • preventing unwanted pregnancy
    • reducing the risk of
    • managing the side effects of excessive male hormone production

    Women who take the pill have a slightly higher risk for . They also have a higher risk for heart disease and stroke .

    Birth control methods like the patch, vaginal ring, skin implant and injection also change a womans hormone levels. Theyre newer, so theres not enough research yet to know how they affect cancer risk.

    Can Birth Control Cause Breast Cancer

    According to one 2017 study, hormonal contraception can slightly increase a persons risk of breast cancer.

    The study involved 1.8 million females in Denmark who were aged 1549. The females had not had cancer or received fertility treatment.

    The researchers revealed that participants using hormonal contraception had a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who were not. This meant that around 1 participant in every 7,690 developed breast cancer.

    However, the researchers noted that other factors, including age, may affect a persons risk of developing breast cancer.

    Participants younger than 35 years had a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Among the females who had been using hormonal contraception for a year, only 1 participant in every 50,000 developed breast cancer.

    Once a person stops taking hormonal contraception, their risk of breast cancer seems to return to normal after around 5 years.

    Overall, the risk of breast cancer was higher among females who currently use or recently used contemporary hormonal contraceptives than among those who had never used hormonal contraceptives.

    This risk increased with longer durations of use, but absolute increases in risk were small.

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    What Should You Do With This Information

    If you are under 40 years old, just continue as you are.The benefits of hormonal contraception in preventing unwanted pregnancies and associated complications, lowering risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers, will outweigh this very small increased risk of breast cancer, Dr. Nancy L Keating, a Professor of health care policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School and a physician at Brigham and Womens Hospital, said.

    If you are 40 or older or have a family history of breast cancer, you might want to consider non hormonal contraception such as: Copper IUD, condoms, surgical options .

    Here Are Some Alternatives To Consider:

    Is Your Hormonal Birth Control Protecting You or Causing Cancer?
    • Many doctors recommend using barrier methods of birth control: condoms or a diaphragm with spermicide.
    • Another option is a non-hormonal intrauterine device such as ParaGard, made of copper. Highly effective for birth control, ParaGard doesnt carry the risk of added hormones and works for 10 years after uterine insertion. It can also be removed if a woman wants to become pregnant. However, some women experience an inflammatory reaction to copper and foreign materials.
    • Of course some women choose abstinence, especially during their fertile time of the month, closely tracking their ovulation cycles and symptoms on a calendar.

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