What Is The Safest Birth Control Method
Since some studies have shown a correlation between oral contraceptives and breast cancer, what is the safest form of birth control? First, its important to weigh the risks and benefits. Birth control is extremely important in preventing unwanted pregnancies. Unplanned or unwanted pregnancy can involve emotional stress and the possible need for medications and surgery, all of which can be prevented by taking birth control in a safe, responsible manner.
Birth control may also have a protective quality. For both ovarian and endometrial cancers, birth control pills may offer protection, lowering the risk the longer you take them. And even after stopping, the protection against these cancers can continue.
Most doctors agree that age is a factor to consider when choosing birth control. Since less than 5 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States are younger than 40, younger women in their teens, 20s, and 30s are at a much lower risk. The risk increases over time for all cancer types, as cells age and become more susceptible to developing abnormalities. For this reason, doctors recommend reevaluating your birth control methods when you turn 40.
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.
Women With A Brca Gene Mutation Or Other Inherited Cancer Risk Have Options
Women who have an increased gynecologic cancer risk due to a BRCA mutation or Lynch syndrome may receive a significant cancer risk reduction from using the pill or a hormonal IUD.
Dr. Goldfrank recommends that women with an inherited cancer risk speak with their gynecologist about the best method for them. The possible small increased risk of breast cancer that might be associated with long-term hormonal contraception use needs to be considered alongside other benefits and risk factors.
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Is There A Link Between Birth Control Pills And Higher Breast Cancer Risk
The need for safe, effective birth control is shared by many women around the world. More than 10 million American women use birth control pills. 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.
Effective, uncomplicated birth control is important for many women. But its also important that birth control be safe. There are concerns that because birth control pills use hormones to block pregnancy they may overstimulate breast cells, which can increase the risk of breast cancer.
The concern is greater if youre at high risk for breast cancer because of:
- a strong family history of the disease
- past breast biopsies showing abnormal cells
- you or someone in your family has an abnormal breast cancer gene
If youve been diagnosed with breast cancer, you SHOULD NOT use contraceptives that use hormones. Thats because theres evidence that these medicines might increase the risk of the cancer coming back .
The study was published in the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Cancer Research. Read the abstract of Recent Oral Contraceptive Use by Formulation and Breast Cancer Risk among Women 20 to 49 Years of Age.
While these results sound very alarming, its important to know three things:
What Are Oral Contraceptives
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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Does Birth Control Cause Breast Cancer
Access to birth control is a global issue, because birth control empowers women to be in control of their own lives. Birth control does more than simply protect your body from unwanted pregnancy but taking birth control can help reduce PMS and cramping, improve heavy periods, and minimize mood swings. There is also ample evidence that being on birth control reduces the risk of developing uterine or ovarian cancer. But does birth control increase breast cancer risk?
Does The Pill Cause Ovarian Cancer
The pill is a type of hormonal birth control. Combination hormonal birth control methods consist of a progestin and synthetic estrogen. Some hormonal contraceptives can actually offer you the extra benefit of reducing your ovarian cancer risk. Please keep in mind that the main reason to use hormonal birth control is for contraception you can consider these possible non-contraceptive benefits when determining which hormonal birth control method to choose.
The following is a list of specific hormonal prescription birth control methods that have been shown to be effective in lowering your risk of ovarian cancer:
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.
Aoral Contraceptives And Breast Cancer: A Review Of The Epidemiological Evidence With An Emphasis On Younger Women
Kathleen E. Malone
The possibility of increased breast cancer risk related to oral contraceptive use is a major concern to American women and to the scientific community. Breast cancer incidence in Western countries is relatively high and apparently is increasing. That breast cancer appears to be influenced by other hormonally mediated factors leads to the hypothesis that the high rate of exposure to oral contraceptives among American women may also be associated with this increase.
Examination of cancer incidence data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program of the National Cancer Institute suggests that there has been an overall increase in the incidence of breast cancer, with increases of the largest magnitude occurring among women over age 50 . Age-adjusted incidence rates for breast cancer in women under the age of 50 have also increased since 1973, but the increases have been of a much smaller magnitudeapproximately 0.2 percent per year. The use of mammographic screening, which facilitates the detection of cases that might otherwise have gone unnoticed, or at the least detects cases at an earlier point in time, may explain some of this increase, especially in women over age 50. However, because screening recommendations apply mainly to middle-aged and older women, screening may not account for much of the increased incidence in young women.
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Breast Cancer Risk & Birth Control
Many studies have been conducted on a link between birth control pills and breast cancer with mixed results. The National Cancer Institute says that an evaluation of multiple studies found that taking birth control pills results in a slightly higher risk of breast cancer than not taking birth control pills. The highest risk was found among women who started taking birth control pills as teenagers. Ten years after stopping birth control pills, women show no increase in breast cancer risk.
More studies are needed before a definitive relationship can be established between birth control pills and breast cancer.
The link between birth control pills and breast cancer centers on the fact that birth control pills contain the female hormones that, when occurring naturally in elevated levels, increase a womans risk of getting breast cancer. Some of these risk factors that cause a natural increase in hormone exposure include:
- Starting menstruation at an early age
- Having a child at a later age
- Not having a child
- Experiencing menopause at a later age
Women with a family history of breast cancer should discuss the possible increase of their risk of breast cancer by taking birth control pills.
A newer form of birth control pill, called the mini pill, contains lower doses of a man-made substitute for progesterone called progestin, which may be a better form of birth control for women already at risk for breast cancer.
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.
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How Can The Combined Pill Increase My Risk Of Cancer
Taking the combined pill is associated with an increased risk in some cancers, such as breast and cervical cancer. But taking the combined pill can reduce the risk of other cancers, such as ovarian, womb and bowel cancer.
Those taking the combined contraceptive pill over long periods of time may have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer. According toBreast Cancer Now, 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 link between the pill and breast cancer risk is not yet clear, but it is thought the hormones in the combined contraceptive pill can increase the growth of some breast cancers.
This risk falls again once you stop taking the combined contraceptive pill, and 10 years after stopping, the persons risk is no longer increased.
If you have the faulty BRCA genes, you are already at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer, so taking the combined pill is an added risk.
The Pill And Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is cancer that starts in the ovaries. It is the fifth most common cancer among women, and it causes more deaths than any other type of female reproductive cancer. It is estimated that approximately 30,000 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed each year, with 15,000 women dying from this disease.
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Cancer Is Partly Caused By Bad Luck Study Finds
Unlike most previous research, this study didn’t 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 didn’t 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 “a roughly 20 percent increased risk among women who currently use some type of hormonal contraception.” And the longer the women used hormonal methods, she says, the higher their risk.
That may sound scary. But Morch and other doctors say it’s 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.
“A 20 percent increase of a very small number is still a very small number,” 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.
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 breast cancer 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.
In general, most studies have not found an overall increased risk of breast cancer due to the use of oral contraceptives.
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Birth Control May Temporarily Increase Some Risks
Its not clear what, exactly, Talento is referring to when she describes birth control as carcinogenic. But some studies have linked oral contraception use to a temporary increased risk of breast and cervical cancer. The most commonly cited research, a 2014 paper published in Cancer Research, found that women who had recently used oral contraceptives with high-dose estrogen had a higher risk of breast cancer than those whod used other versions or none at all.
But the authors of that study wrote that their findings should be interpreted cautiously. Although the results suggest an increased risk ofbreast cancer, they explained in their paper, the many established health benefits associated with use and decreased risk of benign breast conditions, must also be considered when making individual choices.
Laura MacIsaac, MD, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says there are other caveats to consider about these findings, as well: Studies that show an increase in cancer risk while a patient is on birth control are likely picking up on whats called surveillance bias, she tells Health.
In other words, doctors pick up more cancers in pill users than they do in women who dont have to see their doctors as frequentlylike those who’ve had their tubes tied, who have IUDs, or who arent using birth control at all.
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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.
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