A new research study apparently shows that certain birth control pills are believed to be linked to breast cancer. The research report was printed up in the journal Cancer Research and it connects specific kinds of oral contraceptives to a higher risk of developing breast cancer. The American Cancer Society states that women who use any kind of birth control pill have a possible higher risk for developing breast cancer but that the risk can even out once usage of the oral contraceptive stops.
However this new research study specifically connects birth control pills that contain high estrogen levels to breast cancer. Scientists looked at the records of nearly 1,100 women who had breast cancer and were between ages 20 and 49. They got their data from the American Association for Cancer Research. They found that when compared to females who had previously used birth control pills or had never used them, the risk for breast cancer went up by almost 50 percent for the women who did.
Oral contraceptives, which were high in estrogen, were believed to have the maximum risk. The researchers explained that it is mainly too much of the hormone, even though it is natural. It has been well recognized that estrogen and progesterone, which happen naturally in the body can intensify the chance of some cancers. Several studies have proposed that man-made varieties of the hormones found in birth control pills can have a similar effect.
However there is always another side to the story and not all in the medical community agree with the study.
Dr. David A. Grimes, who works as a professor in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the UNC School of Medicine in North Carolina, stated that he thought there was nothing of interest in the article. He added that the 50 percent figure that was mentioned was actually a very low number, and could be accredited to random chance or bias.
The doctor explained that even with a 50 percent increase, the breast cancer number was still below one percent. When there is a group of premenopausal women, other risk factors have to be factored out, such as family history and personal hormonal history. There are other influences that contribute considerably to the chance of breast cancer.
Dr. James Abraham, who is the Director of the Breast Oncology Program at the Cleveland Clinic, explained that birth control pills which would raise the chance the greatest, high estrogen pills are not even regularly prescribed. In fact only one percent of the research report’s contributors had a high estrogen oral contraceptive prescription in the past year, where instead 25 percent had prescriptions for low dosage pills and nearly 80 percent were for moderate dose amounts.
The study stated that birth control which had high amounts of estrogen raised the chance of breast cancer 2.7 times, where pills with moderate levels of estrogen did 1.6 times. Oral contraceptives with low dosage estrogen were not linked with any increased risk of breast cancer. If a woman wants to find out if her birth control is a low dose, she should talk with her doctor.
Dr. Elisabeth Beaber, who is a scientist at the cancer center, which performed the study, stated that the research report should not excessively worry people taking birth control pills. She explained that breast cancer is rare among young women and there are many known health benefits linked with taking oral contraceptive such as the decrease in the risk for ovarian cancer.
Dr. Grimes declared that the new research report should not scare anyone. He added that the top studies, which have been done by the Centers for Disease Control and backed by the National Institutes of Health, have steadily found no connection between birth control pills and breast cancer.
The new study stated that certain birth control pills are believed to be linked to breast cancer. The research report was printed up in the journal Cancer Research and it connected specific kinds of oral contraceptives to a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
By Kimberly Ruble