Does Birth Control Cause Breast Cancer?

Access to birth control is a global issue, because birth control empowers women to be in control of their own lives. Birth control does more than simply protect your body from unwanted pregnancy but taking birth control can help reduce PMS and cramping, improve heavy periods, and minimize mood swings. There is also ample evidence that being on birth control reduces the risk of developing uterine or ovarian cancer. But does birth control increase breast cancer risk?

The Birth Control-Breast Cancer Connection

While there were many articles in the news touting one study that claimed a strong connection between taking birth control and getting breast cancer, it is important to note that it was only older forms of birth control had high levels of estrogen in them. According to the research:

  • high-dose estrogen birth control pills more than doubled the risk of breast cancer
  • ethynediol diacetate (a type of progestin) birth control pills also more than doubled the risk of breast cancer
  • triphasic birth control pills with an average dose of 0.75 mg of norethindrone (a type of progestin) more than tripled the risk of breast cancer

Other birth control pills, including those containing a low dose of estrogen, were not linked to higher rates of breast cancer.  The biggest risks of developing breast cancer come from your own genetic history, past biopsies with abnormal cells, or having the BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 gene.

Alternative Birth Control Methods

According to the Susan G. Komen foundation, other birth control methods, such as Depo Provera, the birth control patch, and the vaginal ring, do not increase the risk of breast cancer. They also point out that any risk associated with birth control pills is extremely small and goes away when you’re no longer taking birth control.

In order to make the right decision for you about whether or not birth control is safe, talk to your physician. And remember, breast cancer is highly treatable when caught early, so get your yearly mammograms.

Whether you and your physician decide you need to have a mammogram, an ultrasound, or both, visit PURE Mammography in the Smith Haven Mall today, no appointment necessary. You can also call 631-652-3424 or fill out the form on this page to pre-schedule an appointment or to learn more about PURE.

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