Monday, September 25, 2023
HomeStudy Links Contraceptive Use to Slight Increase in Breast Cancer Risk

Study Links Contraceptive Use to Slight Increase in Breast Cancer Risk

A recent study has shown that women using contraceptives face a slightly higher risk of breast cancer, irrespective of the type of birth control pill. The study, published in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine, found that both progestin-only and combined progestin and estrogen contraceptives were linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that about half of breast cancer cases occur in women with no identifiable risk factors other than being female and over 40 years old.

According to the WHO, factors such as age, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, family history of breast cancer, radiation exposure history, reproductive history, tobacco use, and postmenopausal hormone therapy can increase breast cancer risk. The new study identified increased breast cancer risks for women prescribed oral combined contraceptives, injectable progestagens, and progestagen-releasing IUD contraceptives.

UK scientists utilized the Clinical Practical Research Datalink for their research, evaluating the medical records of 9,498 women under 50 diagnosed with invasive breast cancer between 1996 and 2017. They also reviewed 18,171 medical records for a control group. The study revealed that 44% of women with breast cancer had hormonal birth control prescriptions, with approximately half for progestin-only. The control group had 39% of women with hormonal birth control prescriptions, with about half being progestin-only.

Dr. Parvin Peddi, a medical oncologist and director of Breast Medical Oncology at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, emphasized that the absolute increased risk of breast cancer from these medications is quite low and should not discourage women from using hormone-containing birth control.

Dr. Tola Kusimo, an oncologist at Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, argued that while the study provided evidence of short-term associations between hormonal contraceptives and breast cancer risk, it did not address long-term associations or the effect of total contraceptive use duration. Kusimo also highlighted that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help reduce cancer risk, and contraception carries a range of potential benefits and risks unrelated to cancer.



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