The risk of a woman developing breast cancer depends on many factors, several of which are related to her natural hormones. Hormonal risk factors include conditions that allow high levels of estrogen to persist for long periods of time, such as first menstruation at an young age (before 12), menopause at a late age (after 55), having children after 30, and not having children at all.
Seeing that many of the risk factors are related to natural hormones, and because birth control pills work by manipulating these hormones, there has been concern about what the possible effects birth control pills may have on breast cancer risk, especially if women take them for many years.
Over the last 15 years, several studies examining the use of birth control pills as a risk factor for breast cancer have produced inconsistent results. Although most studies found no overall increased risk of breast cancer associated with the use of birth control pills, in June 1995 investigators at the National Cancer Institute reported an increased risk of developing breast cancer among women under the age of 35 who had been taking the pill for at least 6 months, compared against those who had never used them. There was a slightly lower, but still elevated risk among women ages 35 to 44. Additionally, their studies showed a higher risk among long-term birth control pill users, especially those who had started to use the pill before age 18.
A later report, which included the 1995 study, found that although there was a slightly elevated risk of developing breast cancer in birth control pill users, the risk of developing breast cancer returned to a normal level 10 years or more after discontinuation of birth control pills. Risk reduction after 10 years or more of being off birth control pills was consistent regardless of family history of breast cancer, reproductive history, where the woman lived, ethnic background, dose and type of hormone, and length of use. However, for reasons unknown, there was still a continued elevated risk among women who had started using birth control pills before age 18.
However all is not lost. One encouraging point of the study is that the minimally elevated risk may not be due to the birth control itself. The risk may result from estrogen’s potential to promote growth of breast cancer cells already present, rather than its potential to create new malignant changes.
Furthermore, the slightly elevated risk of developing breast cancer that was seen in this study is not consistent with the usual process of carcinogenesis. It is more typical for cancer risk to peak decades after exposure, not immediately afterward. Cancer usually is more likely to occur with increased duration and/or degree of exposure to a carcinogen. In this analytical study, neither hormonal concentration nor duration of use affected the outcomes.
BirthControlBuzz is a service company that provides birth control prices, birth control types (prescription required), health administrative services, and birth control statistics predominantly to US patients seeking to purchase birth control on-line.
For more information, call 1-866-868-8850 or visit http://www.birthcontrolbuzz.com/.
Birth Control Buzz is a service company that provides birth control prices, types of birth control(prescription required), health administrative services, and birth control statistics predominantly to US patients seeking to purchase pharmaceuticals on-line. For more information, call 1-866-868-8850 or visit http://www.birthcontrolbuzz.com/.