Does The Contraceptive Pill Increase Risk Of Cancer?

Is it anything to worry about?


Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide, with around 2.3 million women diagnosed with the disease every year. 

The biggest determinants for developing breast cancer are age and being female. But other lifestyle factors, such as weight, how much you drink, whether or not you exercise, and hormone levels, can also play a smaller part in elevating your risk.

It has also been known for many years now that women who are using or have recently used the combined oral contraceptive pill for more than five years have a 25% greater risk of developing breast cancer compared to their risk if they hadn’t taken the pill. 

Until now, it was thought that only the combined hormonal pill carried a greater risk of breast cancer. But a recent study suggests that the progestogen-only pill and other forms of hormonal contraception also carry the same increase in breast cancer risk as the combined pill.

The study found women who used progestogen-only hormonal contraceptives had between a 20-30% greater risk of developing breast cancer compared to women not using these methods. This increased risk disappeared ten years after stopping the method.

Breast cancer is a serious disease and a leading cause of death in younger women, so anything which increases a person’s risk of breast cancer has to be considered carefully.

But one of the difficulties of deciding on whether a contraceptive method presents an acceptable risk is that many other common lifestyle behaviors also increase cancer risk. 

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