Birth Control Pills Increase Risk of Breast Cancer

Birth Control Pills Increase Risk of Breast Cancer

Journal of the American Medical Association, October 11, 2000;284:1791-1798, 1837-1838

Older generation birth-control pills may have significantly increased breast cancer risk among women with a family history of the disease. In a study of 426 families, investigators found that oral contraceptive use tripled breast cancer risk among women with sisters or mothers who had the disease. The risk was confined to women who used “the pill” prior to 1975.

Since then, birth control pills have evolved to include lower doses of estrogen and progestin, which may make them safer in terms of breast cancer, researchers suggest, although this will likely not be definitively known for years to come.

The breast cancer link was strongest among women with five or more cases of breast or ovarian cancer in their families. In these women, birth control pill use was linked to an 11-fold increase in breast cancer risk.

An editorial accompanying the study notes that “the use of oral contraceptives needs to be considered on an individual basis,” taking into account all of a woman’s health concerns.

Our Comment:

Use of synthetic estrogens can clearly cause breast cancer. Using birth control pills presents many risks. Birth control pills have been found to increase the risk of blood clots (thromboembolism), liver and gallbladder disease, stroke, cancer and they cause depletion of many essential nutrients. It would seem wise for all women to avoid taking oral contraceptives, regardless of any reason for taking them. There are other options for birth control that are far safer and have virtually no dangerous side effects.

Synthetic progestins as found in birth control pills were never designed for the optimum health of the female body and should be avoided if one values their health.

Many women can benefit from using natural estrogen, such as estrogen-like compounds found in fermented soy (non-GMO) or estrogen-related herbs. Women who have had their ovaries surgically removed can often benefit from taking natural estrogen sources. It is often best to balance the estrogen sources with natural progesterone as found in natural progesterone cream.