Birth control pills shown to increase risk of breast cancer

birth control pills

A new study published by Cancer Research reported findings that link birth control pills to cancer. The risks of breast cancer by taking birth control pills are showing more in women using pills with a higher dose of estrogen, approximately 50% of the study’s 1102 female population. Those using low estrogen dose formulas did not show any increased risk. Nonetheless birth control is not the only reason many ladies are using the pill, a recent survey showed that around 14% of women use this medication for reasons entirely different from preventing a pregnancy. Many women get prescribed to use the pill to treat a polycystic uterus, intense menstrual cramps and even acne control, among others.

Throughout a woman’s life, she has a 14.28% chance of presenting breast cancer, however this study has come to show that this number gets bigger for those using high estrogen pills and even more if this cancer has presented itself in close relatives. The risks of breast cancer by taking birth control pills have been known by the World Health Organization (WHO) since its introduction in the sixties, nevertheless there have been several changes on the pill through the years for safety regulations and the link to other types of cancers such as cervical and liver cancer. The WHO currently classifies contraception medication as a carcinogen (substance directly involved in causing cancer), still they also studied contraception as a possible medication to prevent endometrial and cervical cancer.

The recruitment of women for this recent study was done in the area of Washington state. All 1102 women aged from 20 to 49 years old and all had been diagnosed with breast cancer  within 1990 and 2009. They also recruit 21952 who had never developed this condition. The research found that those who took high-estrogen contraceptives in the past year are 50% more likely to develop this cancer than those who took them in the past but stopped before the study was conducted and those who have never taken the pill. These risks of breast cancer by taking birth control pills has not been confirmed yet, but there have been other similar studies in the past that show very similar results. One example of this is the Nurse’s Health Study in 1976 and the Nurse’s Health Study II in 1989, both involved studies on oral contraceptives and their potential long term consequences.

On the other hand, many doctors are saying that in spite of these results the great list of benefits from using contraceptives can beat the risk of cancer, taking into consideration that not all women have the same reaction to taking the pill. According to the study’s lead author, Elizabeth B. Beaber of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA, this type of cancer is a rarity among young females and a potential user of this pill should consider the numerous established health benefits associated with contraceptives. She also pointed that the risks of breast cancer by taking birth control pills declines after stopping its usage.

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