Breast cancer risk increased by contraceptive pill

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An American study has found that certain birth control pills may temporarily place a woman at risk of breast cancer.

Research involving in excess of 1100 cancer patients revealed that women who, during the past twelve months, had taken high or moderate oestrogen level contraceptive pills, and those containing specific other hormones, were at 50% more risk of breast cancer.

Experts stated that any increased risk would disappear within 10 years of coming off the pill.

Contraceptive pills with a lose oestrogen dose did not pose a risk and most of the commonly used contraceptive pills contain low to moderate oestrogen doses.

These findings reinforce previous research into this arena of medicine and have been welcomed by experts as it offered them an insight into the impact of different formulations of contraceptives.

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre’s researchers said their findings should be handled with caution as breast cancer was very rate in young females who are most likely to use the pill. They stated that oral contraceptives also had several health benefits.

A senior policy officer at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Dr Caroline Dalton, said that women who are concerned about commencing or stopping the pill should discuss their options with their healthcare provider.

She said that the oestrogen levels in the combination pill have been decreased over the past three decades. Although the researchers have stated that their findings require further investigation, they are closer to discovering if the new, lower-dosage pills are linked to the same risks as the higher level versions used in the past.

She added that breast cancer in women under the age of 40 is rare, irrespective of whether they use the contraceptive pill or not. Additionally, 10 years after stopping the pill, the increased risk will have disappeared which leaves the chances of developing breast cancer the same as for those who have never taken the pill.

The study involved a comparison of the use of oral contraceptive pills among 1102 females who had been diagnosed with breast cancer between 1190 and 2009, with a control group consisting of 21952 people. It was found that recent use of contraceptive pills increased the breast cancer risk by 50% compared to females who had formerly or never used the pill.

Image Credit: lookcatalog

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Robert Wiltshire

Robert is a part-time writer and enjoys screen writing when his schedule allows. A keen writer, Robert graduated in 2002 from Warwick University with a 2:1 in Creative Writing. Hobbies include; Mountain Biking, Keeping Fit and Cooking

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