Contemporary hormonal contraception and the risk of breast cancer

by Jared Lewis December 10, 2017, 2:05
Contemporary hormonal contraception and the risk of breast cancer

The study didn't find any big distinctions between the hormonal method women used-those who used combined oral contraceptives (which use estrogen and progestin) and those who used progestin-only methods each had a higher risk.

Losing weight can help women cut their breast cancer risk by up to a third, a study has found.

Needless to say, the study's findings are disappointing.

However, older versions of hormonal birth control had more estrogen than current versions, and many medical professionals have assumed that the risk has been lowered with the newer versions. This is the first major study to look at that issue.

The US research tracked more than 61,000 women aged between 50 and 79 for 11 years. That information was compared to those who were diagnosed with breast cancer, which showed there was a 20 percent increase in risk of breast cancer for those taking contraceptives.

The risk rose with longer use. For instance, a large-scale 2010 study found that birth control pills came with a "marginally significant higher risk" of breast cancer.

What do those findings mean in terms of the absolute risk to individual women?

Cynthia Besteman was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer six years ago at the age of 46.

This study was observational.

Birth control has also been linked to lower incidences of uterine, endometrial and colon cancers later in life.

"The risks and benefits should be discussed", said Dr. Katherine Tkaczuk, a professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of the breast evaluation and treatment program at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center. The study also found that the risk of cancer increased the longer a woman used the birth control.

"In the 1970s and 1990s, there was some optimism regarding the development of a formulation that would reduce a woman's risk of breast cancer", he writes,"but research into this possibility appears to have stalled". The study's disclosure statement also notes that two of the current study's authors joined the foundation after the paper was published. Novo Nordisk is a pharmaceutical company whose products include hormonal drugs aimed at treating menopausal symptoms.

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