Skip to comments.BBC News - Pill increases breast cancer risk
Posted on 03/23/2002 4:46:11 PM PST by Notwithstanding
Saturday, 23 March, 2002, 08:40 GMT
Their risk rose by just over a quarter (26%), compared with women who had never used the Pill.
This is slightly higher than previous studies have estimated.
The latest research showed those who had taken the Pill over longer periods increased their risk of breast cancer by 58% compared with those who never used it.
It is clear that oral contraceptives increase a woman's risk of developing breast cancer
Dr Merethe Kumle, study co-ordinator
However, the highest increased risk (144%) was among women aged over 45 who were still using the Pill.
Dr Merethe Kumle, who carried out the research, said: "It is clear that oral contraceptives increase a woman's risk of developing breast cancer, particularly when they are used in the later period of reproductive life."
The study, presented at the third European Breast Cancer Conference in Barcelona, used data collected from 103,000 women aged between 30 and 49.
Dr Kumle from the Institute of Community Medicine in Tromso, Norway, collaborated with researchers in Sweden and France to assess data from the Women's Lifestyle and Health study carried out in Norway and Sweden.
The women were originally contacted in 1991/92 and followed through to December 1999.
During that time, 1,008 cases of breast cancer had been detected.
Most of the women who had taken the Pill had used the more modern brands that are currently prescribed by doctors.
Lower dose Pills
Dr Kumle stressed the Pill also has health benefits.
She said: "Oral contraceptives have a lot of advantages as well as disadvantages.
"The total number of deaths from any cause among women who use oral contraceptives is likely to be lower than women who have never used the Pill - just as with hormone replacement therapy."
She added: "The Pill has made it possible for women to decide when and how many children they will give birth to - something which has revolutionised women's lives and is an important issue in women's rights."
The absolute risk of a woman developing breast cancer under the age of 40 is very low, says Dr Kumle.
She also stressed that modern oral contraceptives have much lower hormone doses in them than the older ones, which caused an unacceptably high number of adverse effects.
Professor Valerie Beral, who is head of Cancer Research UK's Cancer Epidemiology Unit in Oxford, said this study was in line with previous research, although the figures differed.
She said: "We have done a study of 54,000 women with breast cancer and found there is a small increased risk of developing the disease from taking the Pill.
Breast cancer trends
"We found a 24% increase in risk while women were currently taking the Pill.
"However the risk fell away to the same as women who had never taken the Pill, within 10 years of them discontinuing its use."
The incidence of breast cancer has been rising in Western countries over the past 30 years.
The use of oral contraceptives is one reason, but girls starting their periods earlier, women having fewer and later births, later menopause and a tendency to being overweight are also influential.
Dr Kumle said: "We found a slightly increased risk of breast cancer among users of the Pill, but it is important to underline that young women using the Pill are not playing hazard with their health.
"As contraception, the Pill should still be the drug of choice for young women."
I would be curious however, to see if they factored in any history of abortions with these Pill-related cancers. That could be abnormally skewing the data towards higher percentages.
/Sarcasm. As a nurse, I was astounded that they marketed oral birth control with the ADDED benefit of being good for your complexion. What next? Chemo as the ultimate dipilatory? The drug companie$ pander to the female con$umer. SeraFem (agressively marketed at women experiencing everything from PMS to perimenopause) is Prozac in (literally) a pink package.
Isn't that amazing, and the doctor in the study said the same, they know all these hormones cause cancer but still encourage women to take them for the 'benefit of their health'. Incredible. To me, the other benefits can be obtained via a heart healthy lifestyle and mineral supplements without the cancer risk.
P.S. I bet that Premarin was discontinued mighty fast once you were diagnosed.
Pregnancy has a protective effect on the breast because the process converts undifferentiated, immature breast cells into differentiated milk cells. For a really good explanation of the biology of this, see Dr. Joel Brind's website at www.abortioncancer.com
As for women having less abortions because they are on the Pill, you'd think that would be the case. I did, but I recall reading some studies (sorry can't recall where-I read a lot:) that said many women on the Pill have had abortions. Now whether they were placed on the Pill after the abortion or if it was a Pill failure, I don't know.
Women have been convinced that they have a right to not be pregnant, regardless of how many times they happily lift their ankles up to the sky.
Your imagery is rather perjorative, IMO. Certainly lots of married women, faithful to their husbands, use oral contraceptives.
No matter who she is, the woman who engages in sex (and the men who encourage it) with the demand that procreation will not happen is abusing her sexuality. Of course others disagree. But nature seems to back me up in this regard since so many people who "take precautions" end up pregnant. No one having sex has any right to think that pregnancy is impossible. We all know better. Shame on those who pretend otherwise - and then kill the babies that inconveniently result.
The leg raising example is really about the kids in high school and college who are encouraged to get their legs in the air as early as possible.
Maybe the instructions should read:
Grasp tightly between knees and keep it that way until male departs room.
Although there is an increase in the risk of breast cancer, so monitoring is essential, the estrogen pill has been shown in study after study to REDUCE dramatically the risk of heart attack (up to 70% reduction), a 90% reduction in the insidence of stroke, and reduced risk of other forms of cancer, including lung cancer. And women on estrogen replacement therapy do not get Ahlzheimer disease.
So ladies, stay sane, and take your pill!!!!
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