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Can Birth Control Pills Cause Breast Cancer

What To Keep In Mind When Looking At Research On Hormonal Birth Control And Cancer

Real Questions – Can birth control pills cause or prevent cancer?

There are a few important things to keep in mind when reading these results.

  • Most people using hormonal birth control are at very low personal risk of breast cancer, so a 20% increase in risk does not mean a personâs overall risk is high. In the United States about 60 out of 100,000 women under 50 years old are diagnosed with breast cancer each year , though risk increases with age. Less than 2 in 100,000 American women ages 20-24 are diagnosed with breast cancer annually , whereas about 250 out of 100,000 American women age 45-49 are .
  • These studies looked at breast cancer diagnoses, not breast cancer occurrence. Itâs possible that people who use hormonal birth control are more likely to get screened for breast cancer, compared to people who do not use hormonal birth controlâthough not all researchers think this would explain the results .
  • There are things a person can do to reduce their overall risk of breast cancer, such as reducing alcohol consumption and exercising . Engaging in healthy behaviors, even while using hormonal birth control, can help you lower your overall risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Nonhormonal Iuds Are A Good Option For Women With Breast Cancer

    Birth control pills and hormonal IUDs are generally not good options for women with hormone-sensitive cancers, such as breast cancer, because they may stimulate the growth of tumor cells, says Dr. Goldfrank. They can also increase the risk of other health problems, including blood clots and stroke. Its important to talk with your oncologist if you are diagnosed with a hormone-sensitive cancer to better understand the health risks and benefits of birth control.

    However, says Dr. Goldfrank, Nonhormonal IUDs are not thought to increase cancer risk. And studies have indicated that copper IUDs might actually reduce your risk of cervical and endometrial cancer. Were not certain why.

    Oral Contraceptives And Cancer Risk

    An initial analysis of an ongoing, multicenter case-control studyindicates that women who have used oral contraceptives areapproximately half as likely to develop ovarian and endometrial canceras women who have never used them and that, despite previous concerns,contraceptive use does not appear to increase a woman’s risk of breastcancer.

    The study used population-based cancer registries in eightgeographic regions across the United States to identify women 20-54years of age with newly diagnosed breast, ovarian, or endometrialcancer. Controls were women of the same ages without known cancer,chosen from the same geographic areas by dialing randomly selectedtelephone numbers.

    The relative risk of ovarian cancer for women who had used oralcontraceptives for at least 1 month, as compared with women who hadnever used them, was 0.6 . The longera woman had used oral contraceptives, the lower her risk of developingovarian cancer. The protective effect of oral contraceptive usepersisted more than 10 years after pill use was discontinued.

    The relative risk of ovarian cancer for women who had used oralcontraceptives for at least 1 month, as compared with women who hadnever used them, was 0.6 . The longera woman had used oral contraceptives, the lower her risk of developingovarian cancer. The protective effect of oral contraceptive usepersisted more than 10 years after pill use was discontinued.

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    Different Types Of Observational Studies

    Case-control studies: In a case-control study, a group of people who already have a disease like cancer are compared to a group of people who dont to see if there are differences in their past exposures. Often, this is done by asking the people in the study many questions about what they did or were exposed to many years ago. This is called a retrospectivedesign. One problem with retrospective studies is that it can be hard to remember what you did long ago. This might mean that the study could miss a link. But a bigger problem with this kind of study is that people with a disease like cancer often think very hard about what they may have done in the past that could have contributed to their getting cancer. They are more likely to remember things that the healthy people dont. They are also more likely to tell the researchers about things that they would otherwise feel was too personal or embarrassing to mention like abortion. This is called recallbias, and it can lead to a study finding links that may not really exist.

    Since none of the people had the disease at the start of the study, there is no chance that having the disease would have influenced their memory or their willingness to report things in their past . Because cohort studies follow people forward in time, they are called prospective studies. Researchers generally consider the conclusions from cohort studies to be stronger than those from case-control studies.

    What Are Oral Contraceptives

    Certain Birth Control Pills Can Increase Your Risk of ...

    Oral contraceptives are hormone-containing medications that are taken by mouth to prevent pregnancy. They prevent pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation and also by preventing sperm from penetrating through the cervix.

    By far the most commonly prescribed type of oral contraceptive in the United States contains synthetic versions of the natural female hormones estrogen and progesterone. This type of birth control pill is often called a combined oral contraceptive. Another type of oral contraceptive, sometimes called the mini pill, contains only progestin, which is a man-made version of progesterone.

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    Support Coming Off The Pill

    If youre ready to ditch that pill, but feeling intimidated by the idea of heavy, painful, periods, wild mood swings or raging acne then I want you to know you’re not alone. Many women start the pill to treat symptoms. Which means a lot of us have been told this is the only tool to tame our wild hormones. But in my clinic I’ve watched many women free themselves from their hormone symptoms and the the hormones they take to suppress them.

    And as youve probably figured out by nowthe birth control pill will not fix your hormone imbalance.

    But it does a damn fine job of suppressing your symptoms, which is how we get hooked.

    If youre in need of more support then I invite you to check out my Post Birth Control Hormone Reset.

    Discover how to get off birth control, kick your unwanted hormone symptoms, and make friends with your period all in 5 weeks!

    This program is designed to help women ON hormonal birth control and OFF! If youre not ready to ditch your current contraception then no worries. You can learn what you need to do to take incredible care of your body.

    You can learn more about the Post Birth Control Hormone Reset Here!

    Psstthis program also gives you access to my health coaches who love to support women in balancing their hormones naturally.

    My Family Has A History Of Breast Cancer Should I Take Birth Control Pills

    Maybe. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women with a strong family history of breast cancer may have up to an 11 times higher risk of breast cancer if they have ever taken the pill. But experts caution that the study involved mainly women who took birth control pills prior to 1975, when it contained much higher levels of the hormones estrogen and progestin than today’s lower-dose pill.

    Those with a family history of breast cancer related to mutations in the BRCA genes should use caution before taking birth control pills. Families at increased risk of breast cancer who are carriers of alterations in these genes may further increase their risk of breast cancer by taking birth control pills. Recent studies show taking birth control pills did not increase the risk in women who are carriers of the abnormal form of the BRCA2 gene, but did in those with the altered BRCA1 gene.

    Women should discuss their family history of cancer with their doctor when evaluating the risks and benefits of using birth control pills.

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    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.

    Ovarian Cancer Risk & Birth Control Pills

    Study: Birth Control Increases Woman’s Risk For Breast Cancer By 20 Percent

    Many studies have shown a direct correlation between the use of birth control pills and a reduction in the risk of ovarian cancer. The reduction increases with the duration of time that birth control pills are taken.

    An analysis of several studies shows that a woman who has taken birth control pills for one year decreases her risk of ovarian cancer by 10 to 12 percent, and after being on the pill for five years the risk for ovarian cancer is cut in half.

    Studies to determine whether the positive effects are related to the type of birth control pill taken have mixed results, but both appear to be beneficial in reducing ovarian cancer risk.

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    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.

    Q: Does Breast Cancer Affect Only Post

    A: No, women of all ages can develop breast cancer. A womans risk of developing breast cancer does increase as she ages, making it important for all women 40 and older to have an annual mammogram. The American Cancer Society says that breast self-exams are optional for women over 20, but recommends that women be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel. Women should report any new breast changes to their healthcare provider as soon as they are found. Early detection is important in increasing survival and reducing the chances of the cancer metastasizing .

    Read Also: What Does Stage 3 Breast Cancer Mean

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    Do Hormonal Contraceptives Increase Breast Cancer Risk

    According to a Danish study, contraceptives that use hormones, including birth control pills and intrauterine devices , 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.

    Its extremely important to know that if you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you SHOULD NOT use contraceptives that use hormones. There is evidence that hormonal contraceptives may increase the risk of the cancer coming back .

    • had been diagnosed with cancer
    • had been diagnosed with a blood clot
    • had been treated for infertility

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    Is Birth Control Pills Bad For You Long

    Birth Control Pills Still Linked to Breast Cancer

    There is some research that suggests taking the pill for a long time may increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer. However, the pill is generally safe to take over a long period of time. Birth control pills may increase your risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer over time, according to the American Cancer Society.

    Read Also: What Is The Prognosis For Stage 3 Breast Cancer

    Better Choice Of Contraceptives Can Prevent Breast Cancer

    An EPFL study into the distinct biological effects of different progestins on the breast shows that contraceptive-related breast cancer can be prevented by more informed choices about the composition of contraceptives.

    Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

    image: Fluorescence stereo micrograph of a mouse mammary gland intraductally injected with normal human breast epithelial cells. Credit: Marie Shamseddin .view more

    Hormonal contraceptives, e.g. the pill, the patch, and the vaginal ring, contain synthetic hormones that prevent pregnancy by either stopping ovulation, changing the cervical mucus to stop sperm from passing through the cervix and finding an egg, or changing the womb’s lining to prevent a fertilized egg from being implanted in it.

    Despite their widespread use, hormonal contraceptives are known to increase the risk of breast cancer, which is the most common cause of cancer-related death among women worldwide, and also topped the list of most commonly diagnosed cancers in 2020.

    The main component of hormonal contraceptives are progestins, which, mimic the female sex hormone progesterone. Progesterone is involved in a number of biological processes, including the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and various aspects of fetal development, like brain programming.

    University Hospital of Lausanne International Cancer Prevention Institute

    Can Your Contraceptive Raise Your Risks What You Should Know

    Soon after the birth control pill was first approved to prevent pregnancy, in 1960, concern arose over whether it might hike womens cancer risks. Since then, a substantial amount of research has linked these hormone-containing pills to an increased risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer.

    But what these links signify is complicated. The research has been observational, which means it offers no definitive proof that hormonal birth control such as the pill causes cancer.

    And most of the studies have been based on older formulations of the pill, which contained higher doses of estrogen and different types of progestin than todays pills do.

    Plus, women now have many birth control options other than the pill, such as progestin-only mini-pills, injectables, and implants hormone-based vaginal rings and patches and intrauterine devices , which may contain progestin or no hormones at all.

    So, much of the evidence linking birth control to cancer risks is based on contraceptives that arent very similar to whats on the market right now, says Lisa Iversen, Ph.D., a research fellow and epidemiologist with the Institute of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Aberdeen who is one of a group of scientists attempting to address the knowledge gap.

    To further confuse matters, research has also associated birth control pills with a lower risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers, and IUDs with a reduced risk of cervical cancer.

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    Overall Risk Is Very Small And Older Women Who Used Hormonal Contraceptives Many Years Ago Arent Likely To Have A Higher Risk

    Hormonal birth control whether it comes as pills, injections, a ring, an intrauterine device , or an implant may raise your risk of breast cancer, according to a study published Dec. 7, 2017, in The New England Journal of Medicine.

    If youre like many women who currently use one of these contraceptive methods, or if you used one for years in the past, should you be worried?

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    Findings Raise New Concerns About Birth Control Safety

    New Study Reveals That Birth Control Pills Can Raise Chance Of Breast Cancer | TODAY

    Since the 1960s, when the birth control pill made its debut, contraceptives have played a major role in family planning. So when researchers discovered that women taking hormone-based birth control had a higher incidence of breast cancer, making the contraceptives safer became an important public health priority. Many experts believed they found a solution in options with far lower doses of estrogen, a hormone long linked to breast cancer occurrence. But a new study suggests that low-dose contraceptives have not had the impact doctors expected, and experts are urging women to talk to their doctors about the implications for their breast health, even though the overall risk remains relatively small.

    The study, published in December in The New England Journal of Medicine, followed 1.8 million women for an average of about 11 years, finding that those on hormonal contraception had a 20 percent higher risk of breast cancerno matter the dose of estrogenthan women who never used those birth control methods. Its an important discovery, especially with an estimated 140 million women across the globe using some form of hormonal contraception. Now, the findings have experts taking a closer look at another hormone singled out by the study: progestin.

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