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New Birth Control Pills Increasing Breast Cancer Risk in Women

A new research study in Denmark showed that hormonal birth control techniques including the newer forms of pills, implants, and intrauterine devices (IUDs) have the chances of increasing the risk of breast cancer in women.

This study provides additional information that links breast cancer and hormonal birth control. But recently, a new study is focusing more on the new types of birth control and its effect on causing breast cancer.

Breast Cancer in Women

A sample size of 1.8 million women from Denmark were used in the previous study which found out that hormonal birth control had the ability to increase the risk of breast cancer by 20 percent in a prolonged period of 11 years.

Though, the chances of having breast cancer due to the use of hormonal birth control pills are quite small. Researchers found out that if all women took hormonal contraception, the number of cases every year would increase by one.

When researchers were examining the hormonal formulations used in different birth control methods, they found all the formulations raise the same amount of risk.

It isn’t a “new” link

The findings show a positive correlation between breast cancer and hormonal contraception which isn’t a new finding as the studies conducted in this area go back to decades. The earlier findings focused more on the older forms of birth control tablets which had a high concentration of estrogen as compared to the pills found today. Hence, the risks caused by the newer pills and methods like implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs), mainly containing progestin, weren’t exactly clear.

It is necessary to weigh these risks against the benefits provided by hormonal contraception for being an effective birth control method was mentioned in a study done by researchers of the University of Copenhagen. Other studies have also been able to find that the risk of acquiring other types of cancers like ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, and endometrial cancer, were reduced with the help of hormonal birth control.

Longer use and its risks

The new research study in Denmark worked with a sample of women falling in the age range of 15 to 49 years who hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer. The researchers made use of nationwide registries for collection information regarding prescriptions that were given for hormonal contraception along with breast cancer diagnosis.

It found that female who used hormonal contraception for a longer duration had a greater risk of developing breast cancer. Using hormonal contraception for a year or less didn’t increase the risk of breast cancer. Use of birth control for 10 years has the potential of increasing breast cancer risk by 40 percent.

After discontinuing the use of birth control, the increased risk disappeared only in women using hormonal contraception for a time span less than 5 years.

The findings remained even when other factors like family history or pregnancy were taken into consideration. Though, the study didn’t take alcohol consumption and physical activity levels into account.

The researchers still believe that unaccounted factors would have a large effect on causing breast cancer which may be also quite common in the population for explaining the derived results.