Research Finds Link Between Breast Cancer and Birth Control Pills

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Research by the Public Health Sciences Division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that women who recently used birth control pills that contained high doses of estrogen had a higher risk of breast cancer.

The Cancer Research Center said that 1,102 women diagnosed with breast cancer and 21,952 controls participated in the study. According to the results, women who took oral contraceptives increased the risk of developing breast cancer by 50 percent when compared to those individuals who had not recently used it.

High-dose estrogen pills increased a woman’s breast cancer risk of 2.7-fold, and birth control pills with a moderate dose of estrogen caused the risk to rise by 1.6-fold. The study indicated that pills with other formulations, such as ethynodiol diacetate or triphasic combination pills with 0.75 milligrams of norethindrone, increased a woman’s risk by 2.6-fold and 3.1-fold respectively.

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“Our results require confirmation and should be interpreted cautiously,” said Elisabeth Beaber, a staff scientist in the Public Health Sciences Division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. “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.”

If you do not know how much estrogen is in your birth control, ask your doctor about it and talk with him or her about other options that may be available for you.

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