Over the years, there have been so many debates about the unknown side effects of hormone pills, and today, we’ve finally found the answer — women who rely on birth control or contraceptive devices that release hormones such as vaginal rings, implants and IUDs, may face a small but significant increase in the risk of getting breast cancer.
The study, which followed 1.8 million Danish women for more than 10 years has revealed that birth control may increase women’s chance of developing breast cancer by as much as 38%. However, that number varies depending on how often a person uses it.
Although modern contraceptives have lower doses of estrogen, the link with cancer risk exists not only for older generations of hormonal contraceptives but also for the products that many women use today. Eek! Could we all be at risk here?
In fact, birth control increases breast cancer risk about as much as drinking alcohol does. Relatively, other environmental factors like smoking have 10 times greater risk of getting lung cancer, while human papillomavirus infection may increase risk about 50 or 60 times for cervical cancer.
And because risk increases with age, Dr. Weiss — an oncologist who founded the website breastcancer.org — suggested that older women may want to consider switching to a hormone-free birth control method, like a diaphragm, an I.U.D. that does not release hormones, or condoms.
“It’s not like you don’t have a choice,” she said. “Why not pursue another option?”