Can birth control pills increase a woman’s chance for breast cancer? A recent study of women in Seattle showed a significant increase in the risk of breast cancer in women who take birth control pills with high-estrogen levels.
This study, conducted by researchers with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and funded by the National Cancer Institute, was designed to see if a possible link exists between oral contraceptive use and breast cancer risk in younger women. Showing a link between birth control and breast cancer doesn’t prove that birth control pills definitively cause the increased breast cancer risk. The researchers took into account other factors, such as family health history. Findings indicated that the use of some birth control pills within the past year was associated with a 50 percent increased risk of breast cancer risk compared with not using birth control pills within the last year. The research focused on women ages 20 to 49.
The American Cancer Society estimates about 300,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and about 40,000 women will die.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This tragic disease may very well affect some of the women you know and care about because of the high numbers of women who are diagnosed each year. In fact, breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer in American women, with challenging, sometimes deadly, results. Learn more about breast cancer in this blog post, written by one of our True Care’s nurses.
If you take birth control pills or are considering doing so, do the research, understand the potential risks, and weigh your options.