Contraceptives increase breast cancer risk – Study 

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    A new study has shown that women who use hormone-containing birth control options, specifically estrogen and progesterone, are at higher risk of breast cancer.

    According to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine, there was no difference in the risk of breast cancer depending on whether birth control consisted of progestin and estrogen or only progestin.

    The World Health Organisation, however, said approximately half of breast cancer develops in women with no identifiable risk factor other than being a female and over 40 years of age.

    The WHO listed the factors as increasing age, obesity, harmful use of alcohol, family history of breast cancer, history of radiation exposure, reproductive history, tobacco use, and postmenopausal hormone therapy.”

    However, the new study found that those prescribed oral combined contraceptives, injectable progestagens, and progestagen-releasing IUD contraceptives were at increased risk of breast cancer.

    A medical oncologist and director of Breast Medical Oncology for the Margie Petersen Breast Center at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, Dr. Parvin Peddi told Healthline that women do not need to choose a progestin-only containing birth control medication because of the perceived lower risk of birth cancer.

    She said, “We have known that oral contraceptives slightly increase the risk of breast cancer.

    “This study aims to determine if progestin-only containing oral contraceptives has a lower risk or whether the delivery mode, for example, oral vs. injectable vs. intrauterine device, affects risk. The study found a similar increased risk of breast cancer among all the above options.

    “The main take-home message is that this study finds that women do not need to choose a progestin-only containing birth control medication because of the perceived lower risk of birth cancer.

    “On the other hand, it’s important to note that the absolute increased risk of breast cancer from any of these medications is quite low, and this study should not dissuade women from using hormone-containing birth controls,” Peddi said. “The risk of breast cancer was seen in less than 0.5% of women aged 35-39 due to these medications and in even fewer women who used these medications at a younger age.”

    Also, an oncologist at Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, Dr. Tola Kusimo argued that while the study provided evidence regarding the short-term associations between hormonal contraceptives and breast cancer risk, it did not do so for longer-term associations or the effect of the total duration of contraceptive use.

    Tola said, “I have also seen the study that you are talking about. But you need to understand that breast cancer risk can go up with both combined and progestogen-only hormonal contraception, however, the risk is minimal.

    “The risk is lower in younger women, unlike when the person using the contraceptive is an older woman.

    “The best ways to reduce cancer risk are to quit smoking, eat a healthy, balanced diet, drink less alcohol, and maintain a healthy weight. Contraception has a wide range of potential advantages as well as hazards that are unrelated to cancer.”

    Queen Ferry
    Queen Ferry
    Chinyere Treasure Ikechukwu known professionally as Queen Ferry, is a Nigerian business Executive, Journalist and Content Editor. She serves as the Vice-Chairman of Naijatraffic Limited and also the CEO of Wakadaily. If Treasure is not blogging, she will be making delicious delicacy.

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