The Truth About Breast Cancer and Birth Control PillsArturo Malave
Birth control pills have given women a really effective means to actively decide on the family planning front. They have, in the past, been a gift.
However many women are concerned about a possible correlation between the use of birth control pills and breast cancer diagnosis.
Ready to bust a myth? With the advent of better tools to measure a medications impact on our health and more in-depth investigation of both men and women’s fertility, we can now look into what the current medical landscape has to offer us in terms of contraception and evaluate both its positive and negative impact on our health as well as that of our soon-to-be-born children.
We’ve collected three medical studies to help you make an informed decision on what’s best for your health and avoiding cancer.
But first, let’s talk about why birth control pills will always be important and what that means for those of us who are looking for healthier contraceptive methods!
The future of contraception is built on our past advances
The future depends on our active recognition of the benefits of oral contraception- as we will read further in- but also on our firm resolution to push the boundaries of what our current pharmaceutical industry has to offer, to insist on changes that are certainly, scientifically necessary… as well as to insist on the importance of natural family planning and its benefits. Among these benefits, we recommend you look into what natural family planning can mean for your relationship with your loved guy.
In today’s post we will look into the research on the positive and negative impact of hormonal contraception on women’s health.
himama defends women’s rights to plan their families and their future by making informed decisions based on technology advancements as well as on the most up-to-date research. We also believe that natural family planning through fertility awareness is not only the best option for your health but also an honest foundation for a healthy, intimate relationship with your boyfriend, husband or life-partner.
While investigating the relationship between breast cancer and birth control pills, here’s the gist of what we found:
Use of oral contraception has been associated with higher risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer and pancreatic cancer but it has also been proven to reduce risk of ovarian, uterine, colorectal and bladder cancers. It has also been associated with increased risk of stroke. If you are interested in reading the research you can start here, here and here.
On the other hand, new methods of Natural Family Planning have been proven to have the same efficiency as birth control pills in preventing pregnancy.
If given the choice, would you rather balance between two different types of cancer OR go the natural way with your steady partner and choose symptothermal fertility awareness methods (totally cancer free)?
For those of our readers who have already been diagnosed with cancer, take a look at our post on trying to conceive after a cancer diagnosis. Cancer treatment may not necessarily mean the end to your dreams of becoming a mom.
RISKS: breast cancer has been associated with hormonal birth control
Multiple studies have dug into the association between breast cancer and hormonal birth control within the last 25 years. In fact, since the advent of the birth control pill in the 1960’s researchers have evaluated its risks and benefits… and there have always been risks.
“Though widely recognized as a breakthrough in medicine and the first effective long-term, reversible method of birth control, hormonal contraception, which is used by an estimated 140 million women worldwide, has never been free of adverse effects”. Via Dr. Park and team.
Let’s zero in on recent studies… say as far back as the 1990’s.
United Kingdom. It’s the year 1996.
A study associating birth control pills with breast cancer is published after an Oxford-based team of professionals at Radcliff Infirmary reanalyzed worldwide epidemiological evidence on the relation between breast cancer risk and use of hormonal contraceptives.
The study gathered data on 53,297 women with breast cancer and 100,239 women without breast cancer from 54 previous epidemiological studies.
Their conclusion: Women who are present users of combined oral contraceptives (daily dosage under 50 milligrams) have an increased risk of breast cancer. Results suggest that recency of use is the main factor in establishing cancer risk. After ten years of stopping use, ever-users of hormonal contraception are at the same level of risk as never-users.
USA. It’s the year 2002.
Six years have passed since the worldwide epidemiological revision done by the Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer and a second study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta refutes previous data. Now researchers argue that long-term use and recent use of contraceptive pills do not cause cancer. This holds true even for higher doses of estrogen-progesterone.
This study concludes that the increase in breast cancer risk after long term use is due to an increased incidence of cancer later in life (age factor versus hormonal dosage).
DENMARK. It’s 2017.
A third study published Dec. 7, 2017, in The New England Journal of Medicine adds to debate after tracking 1.8 million women who were followed on average for 10.9 years.
- Daily dosage of 50 milligrams or less DOES increase risk of breast cancer by 20%, if taken for a year or more.
- Lower doses (20-40 milligrams) ALSO increase risk of breast cancer by 20%, if taken for a year or more.
- All hormonal contraceptives (oral, injections, progestin-only intrauterine systems) increase risk of developing breast cancer.
What happens if you have a history of breast cancer in the family?
Women who have family members who have suffered from breast cancer are strongly advised to avoid prolonged use of hormonal contraceptives.
Women under 40 years of age with mutations of the genetic marker BRCA1 and BRCA2 are at higher risk of breast cancer. When taking birth control pills, their risk rises to 40% if they take hormonal contraceptives for over a year. Their risk of developing breast cancer rises to 70% if they take hormonal contraceptives for a period of 10 years or more. Take a look at the research.
Undetermined risk for breast cancer and birth control pills (dosage under 20 milligrams of combined hormonal contraceptives)
The Danish study on hormonal contraceptives did not evaluate the risk of breast cancer for daily doses under 20 milligrams. In the future we may see more hormonal contraceptives developed by pharmaceutical companies that utilize less synthetic estrogen (under 20 milligrams). There is a possibility that lower doses do not contribute to higher risk of developing breast cancer.
BENEFITS: taking birth control pills mitigates risk of ovarian and uterine cancers
- On the plus side, long-term use of hormonal birth control has been associated with positive health benefits including reduction of risk of ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, bladder cancer and endometrial (uterine) cancers.In nonsmokers, there is also less risk of heart attack and stroke than in women who do not take oral contraceptives (Via Our Bodies Our Selves)Also, women who take oral contraception have lighter periods and therefore are at lower risk of anemia. With long-term use, they are less likely to develop ovarian cysts. And research suggests they have a decreased incidence of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) as well as reduced risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
What we can do to fight breast cancer with himama
We are not defenseless against cancer.
If you have doubts about what you can achieve from your very own home, take a look at our post on health tips you can use to combat breast cancer.
The battle against breast cancer begins with healthy dieting, positive lifestyle choices and preventive examination.
And since prevention is basically our best weapon in defense of a long and healthy life, keep in mind that the longer you use birth control pills the higher your risk of developing certain types of cancer, mainly breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and cervical cancer.
Weighing in on both the positive and the negative impact of hormonal contraception use on your risk of developing different types of cancer…. We are not the only ones who have said it.
Finally, if you do choose to use pills or any other form of hormonal contraceptive, you do not have to run in fear, worried about getting cancer. The risk of cancer is relatively small. Do keep in mind that there are other, natural and healthy, options for contraception.
That is what we believe here at hiMama.
Let us know how your contraceptive life choices go! We are here to help.
Did you know?
Among the little known benefits of natural family planning are:
- enhancement of your sex life and intimate relationship through better communication with your partner and
- getting to know your own body enough that you can even recognize different cervical mucus textures. 😉