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Does Birth Control Cause Breast Cancer

Brca Genes And Cancer

Birth Control Could Cause Increased Risk Of Breast Cancer

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are 2 genes that everybody has. These genes usually protect us from breast and ovarian cancers. If you get a mutation in one of these genes they no longer give us that protection.

The risk is highest for breast cancer in women, but its also above average for ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer in men and pancreatic cancer.

Comparing The Risks And Benefits Of Hormonal Birth Control

Obviously, the most important benefit of hormonal birth control is avoiding unplanned pregnancy. Another related benefit is avoiding potential pregnancy-related complications that can seriously affect a womans health. Some of these include gestational diabetes, preeclampsia , and complications during delivery.

The current U.S. maternal death rate, or the number of women who die during or shortly after childbirth, is 14 per 100,000 live births. In Texas, the 2014 maternal death rate was nearly 36 per 100,000 live births. Maternal death rate increases with age and with obesity. Both of these statistics are higher than the Danish studys finding of 13 cases of breast cancer out of 100,000 women on hormonal birth control.

  • Hormonal birth control has many other benefits, including reductions in:
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding

Related reading:Would an IUD or birth control implant work for me?

If a patient cant tolerate hormonal birth control or would prefer not to use it, she may choose a nonhormonal IUD, ParaGard, thats highly effective without progestin. Other nonhormonal options are available, though these might be less appropriate or effective based on a womans needs:

Request an appointment for more information about choosing an effective and safe method of birth control.

Does The Pill Cause Breast Cancer

The available research on this topic is mixed. The conflicting results may be due to the fact that the hormone levels in the birth control pills have changed over the years. Early birth control pills contained much higher levels of hormones than todays low-dose pills and posed a higher breast cancer risk. There are concerns that the pill may cause breast cancer because the hormones in birth control pills may overstimulate breast cellsthis may increase your risk of breast cancer. There is great concern if youre at high risk for breast cancer due to:

  • A strong family history of breast cancer
  • Past breast biopsies showing abnormal cells
  • You or a family member has an abnormal breast cancer gene

Research on this topic varies. In general, most studies have not found an overall increased risk of breast cancer due to the use of the pill. That being said, several research studies have suggested that using the pill may increase your risk of having breast cancer. Here is a quick review of some of the research on this topic:

Also Check: When Can Breast Cancer Occur

Also Check: What Age Do People Get Breast Cancer

Birth Control And Cancer: Can Oral Contraceptives Prevent Ovarian Cancer

Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford, Melrose-Wakefield Hospital

Certain forms of birth control may decrease your risk for ovarian cancer.

For years, women have dealt with a barrage of myths and street knowledge about birth control. One of these commonly held concerns is that certain contraceptives, such as the pill, cause ovarian cancer. But research has suggested that the opposite is true.

In fact, since 2014, we have been prescribing two forms of birth control with the goal of preventing ovarian cancer in mind:

  • Oral birth control, a.k.a. the pill
  • Severing or removing part of the fallopian tubes, otherwise known as tubal resection

Birth Control Pills Still Linked To Breast Cancer Study Finds

Does Birth Control Cause Breast Cancer?
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Women who rely on birth control pills or contraceptive devices that release hormones face a small but significant increase in the risk for breast cancer, according to a large study published on Wednesday.

The study, which followed 1.8 million Danish women for more than a decade, upends widely held assumptions about modern contraceptives for younger generations of women. Many women have believed that newer hormonal contraceptives are much safer than those taken by their mothers or grandmothers, which had higher doses of estrogen.

The new paper estimated that for every 100,000 women, hormone contraceptive use causes an additional 13 breast cancer cases a year. That is, for every 100,000 women using hormonal birth control, there are 68 cases of breast cancer annually, compared with 55 cases a year among nonusers.

While a link had been established between birth control pills and breast cancer years ago, this study is the first to examine the risks associated with current formulations of birth control pills and devices in a large population.

The study found few differences in risk between the formulations women cannot protect themselves by turning to implants or intrauterine devices that release a hormone directly into the uterus.

Read Also: What Does Early Breast Cancer Look Like

Does Taking The Mini

Research is ongoing into any relationship between breast cancer and the progestogen-only pill , such as Cerazette. There is not enough evidence to suggest a link between the mini pill and breast cancer. If there is any increased risk, it’s likely to be very small and disappear with time when you stop taking it.

There is no evidence to suggest the mini-pill is linked to an increased ovarian cancer risk.

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.

Read Also: How To Tell If Cancer Has Metastasized

Recommended Reading: Alternatives To Hormone Therapy After Breast Cancer

Do Faulty Brca Genes Run In Families

Our genes are inherited from our parents. So if your parents have the BRCA gene mutations theres a chance you will inherit these, and if so, you could pass them onto any of your children.

A woman who inherits a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation will have a high risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and has a 50% chance of passing this mutation onto each of her children.

A man who inherits a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation may have a small increased risk of male breast cancer. They also may have an increased risk of prostate or pancreatic cancer, and has a 50% chance of passing this mutation onto each of his children.

But its important to mention that not everyone with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation has a family history of cancer.

New Developments In Cancer Research

Heres How Birth Control Affects Breast Cancer Risk | NBC Nightly News

Progress in the field.In recent years, advancements in research have changed the way cancer is treated. Here are some recent updates:

Uterine cancer.Cancer of the uterus is on the rise, especially among Black women. Experts say the cancer will eventually become the third most common type among women, and recent studies show that it is not only more likely to strike Black women, but also more likely to be deadly.

Blood tests.New blood tests that look for minuscule shards of DNA or proteins to detect a variety of cancers have won praise from President Biden, who made them a priority of his Cancer Moonshot program. Supporters say the tests can find tumors when they are still small and curable, but a definitive study to determine whether the tests could prevent cancer deaths has yet to come.

Melanoma.A large study found that participants who ate high quantities of fish each week had a greater risk of developing melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. It is not clear whats behind the surprising association between fish intake and melanoma, and the lead author of the study cautioned that the findings are not a reason to remove fish from a healthy diet.

Breast cancer trial.A treatment with trastuzumab deruxtecan, a drug that targets cancer cells with laserlike precision, was found to be stunningly successful at slowing tumor growth and extending life in clinical trial participants who had metastatic breast cancer.

Also Check: Does Having Breast Cancer Hurt

How Does Pregnancy Affect Benign Breast Disease

Changes in hormone levels during pregnancy can cause breast lumps, tenderness and nipple discharge. Youre also more likely to experience benign breast changes or develop a breast infection called mastitis while breastfeeding. Breast changes during pregnancy or breastfeeding are rarely cancerous. Still, you should reach out to your healthcare provider when you notice any breast change.

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

Read Also: How Many People Get Breast 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.

What If I Have A Family History Of Breast Cancer

Does birth control increase your risk of breast cancer?

If your mother, aunt, sibling has breast cancer, you are at higher risk of breast cancer.

If it is your grandmother and NOT mother, aunt, or sibling, then your risk is average = not higher than your person without a family history of breast cancer. However it could also be that your mother, aunt, siblings are still young and it hasnt shown up yet.

The cancer question is a risk/benefit analysis.

Also Check: What Is Grade 3 Invasive Breast Cancer

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.

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 .

Recommended Reading: What Is Breast Cancer Disease

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.

What We Know About The Risks

Do Birth Control Pills Increase My Breast Cancer Risk?

A 1996 review of 54 studies, which drew together much of the research on birth control pills, concluded that oral contraceptives were indeed associated with a slightly higher risk of breast cancer.

The review, published in The Lancet, also found that the higher risk returned to normal 10 years after women no longer used hormonal birth control.

But do these results still hold true for current formulations of the pill or other, more modern contraceptives?

One significant study found that they do. Researchers evaluated data on about 1.8 million Danish women, and found that the use of any hormone-based contraception, including progestin-only pills and hormonal IUDs, was linked with a higher risk of breast cancer. Like The Lancet review, this study also suggested that the increased risk diminishes once a person stops using hormonal birth control.

Also like The Lancet review, the study found that the rise in breast cancer risk was quite smalljust one additional cancer diagnosed for every 7,690 people using hormonal birth control a year.

When it comes to cervical cancer, studiesprimarily on women taking birth control pills with estrogen and progestinsuggest that any increased risk is also modest.

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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.


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