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Birth Control Pills' Cancer Risk Persists, Study of 1.8M Women Finds

Image: Birth Control Pills' Cancer Risk Persists, Study of 1.8M Women Finds

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By    |   Friday, 08 December 2017 10:12 AM

Birth control pills cause a risk of breast cancer, even in lower-dose pills, according to a new study that followed 1.8 million women.

The study done in Denmark and published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that while hormone-infused devices such as vaginal rings, implants and some IUDs also appeared to raise the risk, none of those increased the threat like the pills, NBC News reported.

The study said that of the nearly two million women who were followed on average of nearly 11 years, the breast cancer risk for women using the pill increased more the longer they used it – rising from 20 to 38 percent depending on length of time used, CNN reported.

"After discontinuation of hormonal contraception, the risk of breast cancer was still higher among the women who had used hormonal contraceptives for five years or more than among women who had not used hormonal contraceptives," the study continued.

Mia Gaudet, strategic director of breast and gynecologic cancer research at the American Cancer Society, who was not involved in the research, told NBC News that there was hope that new formulations of the pills would not increase a user's risk of breast cancer as the older formulations did.

"Unfortunately this was not the case and additional research is needed to tweak the formulation," Gaudet told NBC News. "In the meantime, women who are using oral contraceptives might want to speak to their doctors about use before age 35 and after age 35. Depending on their reasons for using oral contraceptives, they might want to consider other options, including non-hormonal contraceptives."

ABC News reported that the research confirmed previous research that linked oral contraceptive use with increased breast cancer risk, even though risks seen in the study were relatively small and the absolute increases in breast cancer risk stayed low.

David Hunter, professor of epidemiology and medicine at the Nuffield Department of Population Health in the United Kingdom, told CNN, though, that hormonal contraceptives, namely oral contraceptives, have been linked to a lower risk of ovarian, endometrial and colorectal cancers later in life.

"The benefits (against these other cancers) persist for one to two decades," Hunter told CNN. '"Overall, it may be more beneficial."
 

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Birth control pills cause a risk of breast cancer, even in lower-dose pills, according to a new study that followed 1.8 million women.
birth control pill, cancer risk, persists
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2017-12-08
Friday, 08 December 2017 10:12 AM
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