Sunday, August 3, 2014

Connection Between Birth Control and Breast Cancer?

      Questions that are asked by women everyday: "Should I be on birth control? Will birth control change me?  How will the hormones affect me?"  Most women who are sexually active will choose one or two forms of birth control to prevent any unwanted pregnancies, even out their hormones, or regulate their monthly cycles.  Recently women have been reporting their increased risk for breast cancer due to the high doses of estrogen and formulas in their birth control pills.  A link that has been contemplated before but never really proven until this research has come in.  Basics about birth control are that you can't get pregnant and that the partners are going to be safe while sexually active.  The function of birth control pills is not new to most people, but here is a quick refresher on how it reacts to the body.
      Oral contraceptives (also known as The Pill, BC's, or BC Tabs) contains two types of hormones which are estrogen and progestin.  When taking properly it prevents pregnancy by stopping a women's egg from fully developing each month, so that egg can no longer accept fertilization from a sperm.  Oral contraceptives change the uterus lining just enough so that an egg will not stop in the uterus to develop.  While a woman is on birth control, she can better know when that time is coming and plan around it before starting on a new set of her pills.  Now today there are various forms of birth control that a woman can choose from and each one reacts with the body a little differently.  Birth control pills however is what many women are finding out might be giving them an increased risk to breast cancer.       A study was done with prescriptions and how the different levels of estrogen in those prescriptions reacted with the women taking them.  Women taking pills with lower levels of estrogen did not increase their risk at all, but women taking elevated levels of estrogen increased their risk by 50%.  To me that is a very scary thought and should send a message to all women to double check what they are taking in their birth control.  Besides mood swings or body changes, oral contraceptives can be paired with cancer. 

      The American Cancer Society has been studying these levels and with more than 1,000 women in their study, with increased risk because the high-estrogen levels was "too much" man-made of the hormone.  Even though the body naturally makes the two hormones included in oral contraceptives, having too high levels of them has been shown to increase that women's chance of breast cancer.  The argument that keeps being brought up is if the pills are part of the problem or if the formula can develop cancer.  Many over the counter prescriptions have problems and are constantly being scrutinized for causing health problems and cancer.  
      Any type of cancer is scary and is a very hard battle for that person.  Birth control pills might not be the only source that creates cancer in a female but it is also a potential increased risk. Studies suggest that recently taking BC pills can increase a women's risk of breast cancer and that women who are on the high-estrogen pill can go up to 60% increased risk.  As an overall process of going through the process of choosing a new birth control a women should be careful and talk with her doctor about the levels of estrogen that she will be taking on a daily basis to make sure that she does not increase her own chances.  

*American Cancer Society
*Mayo Clinic-
*Science Daily-


  1. This was an interesting article on how birth control is being tied into higher cases of breast cancer, but that's a risk many people would rather take then having a little child running around. This was interesting but not too surprising because many medications we take and if taken for an extended period of time can cause a variety of illnesses including cancer.

  2. I did not know about the link between breast cancer and birth control until I read your article. It was very informative. I wonder how many people know about it, because my doctor did not mention this correlation when I discussed the possibility of birth control to help regulate my crazy cycle.

  3. I find your article very interesting. I had always stayed away from birth control pills because I thought the same thing. This past year my Dr. put me on them because I had repeated years of precancerous cells and they help prevent cervical cancer. Knowing she had a younger daughter I asked her if she would put her daughter on them and without hesitation she said she would. I have been on them ever since.

  4. It sounds like it is certain types of pills with high doses of estrogen that have now been linked to breast cancer. Perhaps doctors will stick to prescribing the lower dose or progestin only pills until there are more data to either support or refute the link.

    What about the forms of long-term birth control, like the depo-provera birth control shot?