Birth Control And Breast Cancer
Both estrogen-containing birth control methods and progestin-only methods have been associated with increased risk of breast cancer .
In one large study published in 2017, which included all women in Denmark, it was found that people who were currently using or recently used any form of hormonal birth control were, on average as a group, about 20% more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer as compared to people who were not using hormonal contraceptives .
The risk of a particular method is not necessarily 20% though. Some hormonal methods had higher risk, and some had lower. For example, this study found there was no increase in risk among implant-users or users of the progestin-only shot , but we need more research to confirm these results.
The association between estrogen-containing pills and breast cancer has been studied the most. The risk of breast cancer diagnosis has been found to be 20% higher among current or recent users of the pill as compared to non-users of any hormonal birth control .
The specific formulation of the pill, such as the amount of estrogen and the type of progestin, may play a role in the risk of developing breast cancer, but more research is needed .
Two studies have found that the hormonal IUD also increases risk by about 20% .
The increase in the risk of breast cancer appears to be highest while people are currently using hormonal birth control, and appears to decrease over time after people stop using their hormonal method .
Cancer Is Partly Caused By Bad Luck Study Finds
Unlike most previous research, this study didnât just track the effect of birth control pills. Because their set of data was very large, scientists this time were also able to get a good sense of the impact of various other hormonal methods including the birth control patch, the ring, and implants as well as hormone-releasing IUDs.
The results showed it didnât much matter what sort of hormonal method was used, says Lina Morch, a research epidemiologist at the University of Copenhagen, who led the study.
Overall, Morch says, she and her colleagues found âa roughly 20 percent increased risk among women who currently use some type of hormonal contraception.â And the longer the women used hormonal methods, she says, the higher their risk.
That may sound scary. But Morch and other doctors say itâs important to consider how that additional risk translates in terms of actual cases of breast cancer. The illness is fairly rare among women in the age group studied.
âA 20 percent increase of a very small number is still a very small number,â says Mia Gaudet, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society. The risk contributed by hormonal contraception, she says, is similar to the extra breast cancer risk contributed by physical inactivity, excessive weight gain in adulthood, or drinking an average of one or more alcoholic drinks per day.
Exercise For 20 Minutes Daily
Moderate to vigorous exercise daily wins in the research every time! This is why movement is a foundational piece of the protocols I use to help women struggling with post-birth control syndrome.
Research has found that about 150 minutes of weekly exercise or about 20 minutes per day, is associated with lower rates of return of breast cancer and death from the disease.
In a meta-analysis of 22 cohort studies, it was found that regular exercise may reduce the risk of death from breast cancer by 40%. Yes, 40%!!!
Exercise to Support Breast Health:
- Walking, jogging, interval training
You May Like: How Fast Does Breast Cancer Kill You
Does Taking Birth Control Pills Increase My Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer
Maybe. Studies that have examined the use of oral contraceptives as a risk factor for breast cancer have produced conflicting results. Some researchers think this might be due to the fact that the level of hormones in birth control pills has changed since they were first studied. Early birth control pills contained much higher levels of hormones than today’s low-dose pills and posed a higher risk.
Scandinavian researchers have noted an increase in breast cancer in a group of women that were currently taking or had recently taken birth control pills. Longer use of the pill seemed to increase the risk. Similar research found that 10 years or more after women stopped using birth control pills, their breastcancer risk returned to the same level as if they had never used birth control pills.
However, another reputable study by Women’s Contraceptive and Reproductive Experience done between 1994 and 1998 showed there was no increased risk of breastcancer in current or former users of birth control pills.
Research That Found No Link
Mirena has been available for more than 15 years. Research has not yet provided a conclusive answer about its possible link to breast cancer.
One of the earliest studies about a link between Mirena and breast cancer appeared in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology in 2005. The results of that study concluded that there was not an association between the use of Mirena and increased breast cancer risk.
Another study from 2011 in the journal Contraception also did not find an increased risk of breast cancer in people using Mirena.
Here Are Some Alternatives To Consider:
- 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.
- For women who are certain they do not want to become pregnant in the future, permanent birth control is an option. For women, surgery closes the fallopian tubes and stops eggs from entering the uterus. For men, vasectomy cuts and seals the tubes that carry sperm in the semen.
Increased Risk: Cervical Cancer
Taking birth control pills for 5 or more years might make you more likely to get cervical cancer. The longer you use them, the higher your risk. The risk tends to go back down over time when you stop taking the pills.
However, most cervical cancers are caused by a persistent infection with the human papilloma virus . Today, doctors typically screen for such infections during a woman’s health exam and Pap smear. “If you receive regular check-ups and HPV screening, this cancer should be less of a concern,” says Gaudet.
Things that might lower your risk:
- Getting regular HPV screenings.
Don’t Miss: Can I Get Tested For Breast Cancer Gene
Can Birth Control Pills Lead To Breast Cancer
The latest research indicates that yes. Women over the age of 65 are at the greatest risk for breast cancer associated with birth control pills, according to a study of more than 100,000 women. Women who took the pill for more than two years were at the greatest risk of developing breast cancer, according to the study.
Recommended Reading: Treatment For Malignant Neoplasm Of Breast
What To Keep In Mind When Looking At Research On Hormonal Birth Control And Cancer
There are a few important things to keep in mind when reading these results.
Does Taking The Combined Pill Increase The Risk Of Breast Cancer
Taking the combined pill will slightly increase the risk of breast cancer compared to people who are not taking it. But its important to remember that there are other things that have a bigger effect on breast cancer risk. For example, being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer much more than taking the pill does.
When you stop taking the pill, your breast cancer risk stops increasing. About 10 years after stopping, a persons risk is no longer affected.
What Does Birth Control Do To Breast Cancer Risk
As I quoted earlier: Women who use hormonal for more than a year are at a 20 percent higher risk for breast cancer, the overall risk remains low, and is called safe and effective. The 20 percent translates to about ONE MORE case of breast cancer a year for every 7,700 women.
The New York Times calls it a small but significant increase in the risk for breast cancer. While the increase for a 20-year-old means that her risk of breast cancer is still less than one-tenth of 1 percent, but for a 40-year-old, it means a change from 1 in 69 to 1 in 57.
Bloomberg News reports that while it was thought that newer birth control drugs would reduce the risk, it turns out they didnt. The study found that the longer they take them, the greater the chance they will develop breast cancer, thought, it adds, the risk is somewhat offset by reduced risks of cancer of the ovaries, endometrium, and digestive system
Birth Control And Cancer: Is There A Link
Hormonal contraception, including birth control pills, has been a popular form of birth control since it was first introduced in the 1960s. But some research, including a recent 2017 study, points towards a potential link between birth control and breast cancer.
Read on to get a better understanding of birth controls role in your risk for breast cancer and what the risks and benefits are.
Oral Contraceptive Use And The Risk Of Breast Cancer
- 1 Dr Casey is a consultant for Organon USA.Petra M. CaseyCorrespondenceAddress reprint requests and correspondence to Petra M. Casey, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 559051 Dr Casey is a consultant for Organon USA.Affiliations
You May Like: What Is The Average Risk Of Breast Cancer
Birth Control Pills Still Raise Breast Cancer Risk
Even newer lower-dose birth control pills raise a womans risk of breast cancer, although the actual danger is “quite small,” researchers reported Wednesday.
Hormone-infused devices such as vaginal rings, implants and some IUDs also appear to raise the risk, although again not by much, the study found.
Its a disappointment to doctors who had hoped that lower doses of hormones in both oral and non-pill contraceptives might be safer than older birth control pills. But they stress there is no need for most women to abandon birth control pills for fear of breast cancer.
Does Use Of The Birth Control Pill Increase The Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer
Most prescribed birth control pills contain synthetic versions of the natural female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Prolonged estrogen exposure is considered to be one of the highest risk factors for developing breast cancer.
While early birth control pills contained much higher levels of hormones and posed a higher risk, many experts suggest that the benefits of todays low-dose pills outweigh the risks.
The bottom line: Studies indicate that the use of the birth control pill increases the risk of developing breast cancer. But the reported increases vary significantly by study, from say 7% to 60%, indicating that there are likely compounding risk factors at play. For instance, does the user eat healthily, exercise, drink alcohol, smoke, etc?
Also Check: Is Triple Negative Breast Cancer Curable
Birth Control And Endometrial Cancer
Use of some forms of hormonal birth control the risk of endometrial cancer.
Current users of estrogen-containing pills have half as much risk as those who never used hormonal methods . Former-users of the pill also have a reduced risk after discontinuation .
There has been less research on progestin-only birth control, but some studies have found reduced risks too. One study from 2014 found that people with heavy menstrual bleeding who used the hormonal IUD had half the risk of developing endometrial cancer . Users of the progestin-only shot have been found to be at reduced risk , and progestin-only pills might also reduce risk , though more research is needed.
Theoretically, users of progestin-only methods should be at a reduced risk, because it is thought that the synthetic progestins prevent the development of endometrial cancer .
The hormonal IUD and an oral form of the progestin found in the contraceptive shot have actually been used to treat some forms of endometrial cancer and endometrial hyperplasia, or abnormal cell growth .
Study Finds Small Breast Cancer Risk Linked With Todays Hormonal Birth Control
A study of Danish women finds that newer forms of contraceptives, including birth control pills and hormone-releasing IUDs, increase the risk of breast cancer about as much as older forms of hormonal contraceptives about 20%. Studies have long shown that hormonal birth control slightly raises breast cancer risk. But newer contraceptives contain less of the hormone drugs estradiol and progestin, and it was hoped that they would not increase breast cancer risk as much.
The study was published December 6 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen looked at the records of all the women in Denmark between the ages of 15 and 49. They followed 1.8 million women for almost 11 years to compare those who had used contraception to those who hadnt, and see how many of them were diagnosed with breast cancer. Overall, they found that women who used hormonal contraception had about a 20% higher risk of breast cancer than women who had never used hormonal contraception.
Don’t Miss: Can Breast Cancer Be Passed On Genetically
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 .
Should I Use Birth Control Pills If I Have Cancer
Women who have had or currently have breast cancer should not take birth control pills. Women who have uterine cancer also should not take birth control pills. The hormones in birth control pills have a negative effect on some cancer tumors. It is best for women with any form of cancer to consult their physician about taking birth control pills.
Women who are receiving chemotherapy treatment for cancer do not want to get pregnant, as chemotherapy drugs can harm a developing baby. They should consult their physician to see if they can take birth control pills or discuss what method of birth control would be most effective.
Don’t Miss: What Month Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Does Birth Control Pill Use Impact The Risk Of Any Other Cancers
- Cervical cancer: A Lancet study found a 10% increased risk with less than 5 years of use, a 60% increased risk with 5 to 9 years of use, and doubling of risk with 10 or more years of use.
- Endometrial cancer: Risk is reduced by at least 30%, with a greater risk reduction the longer the pill is used.
- Ovarian cancer: Risk is reduced by as much as 30%-50% with at least three years use.
- Colorectal cancer: Risk is reduced 15% to 20%.
Our mission at The Thermogram Center, Inc. is preventive education. Environmental causes of human cancer are manageable. However, the public remains unaware of the many common environmental carcinogens and the actions necessary to mitigate their risk. We hope to be a reliable source of information to help you protect you and your family from the hazardous chemicals in the air, water, food, and products threatening your well being.
Does The Combined Contraceptive Pill Cause Cancer
The combined pill contains oestrogen and progesterone.
- Taking the combined pill slightly increases your risk of breast cancer
- Within a few years of stopping, this increased risk disappears
The pill is a safe and effective method of contraception, and for many women the benefits outweigh the risks.
If youre worried about breast cancer and the pill, or are unsure about what type of contraception youre taking, talk to your doctor or family planning clinic.
Recommended Reading: How To Lose Weight After Breast Cancer