• Birth Control Pills and Breast Cancer

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    Birth Control Pills and Breast CancerBirth control pills is comprised of certain hormones that helps women avoid getting knocked up. These hormones functions by: making the mucus in the cervix thick to give the sperms a hard time to get in, and the lining of the uterus thin giving a hard time for a possible fertilized egg to nail itself there.

    Women who used birth control pills that have increased amounts of estrogen and other makings have an increased risk for breast cancer nowadays compared to women who do not, based on a study circulated in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

    “Our results suggest that use of contemporary oral contraceptives [birth control pills] in the past year is associated with an increased breast cancer risk relative to never or former oral contraceptive use, and that this risk may vary by oral contraceptive formulation,” said Elisabeth F. Beaber, PhD, MPH, a staff scientist in the Public Health Sciences Division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.

    “Our results require confirmation and should be interpreted cautiously,” added Beaber. “Breast cancer is rare among young women and there are numerous established health benefits associated with oral contraceptive use that must be considered. In addition, prior studies suggest that the increased risk associated with recent oral contraceptive use declines after stopping oral contraceptives.”

    In a nested case-control study of 1,102 women diagnosed with breast cancer and 21,952 controls, Beaber and colleagues found that recent oral contraceptive use increased breast cancer risk by 50 percent, compared …

    Birth control pills in high amounts of estrogen increased risk for breast cancer by 2.7 times and those containing average doses of estrogen increased by 1.6 times. Pills that have ethynodiol diacetate increased the risk by 2.6 times. Pills with combined triphasic have an average of 0.75 milligrams of norethindrone, increasing the risk by 3.1 times.

    Birth control pills containing low-dose estrogen did not increase breast cancer risk.

    About 24 percent, 78 percent, and less than 1 percent of study controls who were recent oral contraceptive users filled at least one prescription in the past year for low-, moderate-, and/or high-estrogen dose oral contraceptives, respectively, according to Beaber.

    Other studies depend on women’s memory recollection. Beaber and associates used electronic pharmacy records to obtain thorough evidence on oral contraceptive use with drug name, dosage, and duration of medication.

    This study was funded by the National Cancer Institute. Beaber declares no conflicts of interest. –

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