Most women have taken hormonal contraception at some point in their life, even if it wasn't for preventing pregnancy. In fact, the Guttmacher Institute found that almost 60% of women take the birth control pill for something other than pregnancy prevention, such as heavy periods, acne, cramps, etc. But more and more women are starting to understand that the birth control pill can have some negative effects on their day-to-day health that they aren't comfortable with, such as severe mood swings, hormonal disruption, weight gain, and even PCOS or infertility. A recent study also suggested that the mini-pill, which is the progestagen-only birth control pill, can increase a woman's risk for breast cancer.
The Birth Control Mini Pill Could Increase Your Risk for Breast Cancer, According to a New Study
The PLOS Medicine journal released a study called "Combined and progestagen-only hormonal contraceptives and breast cancer risk: A UK nested case-control study and meta-analysis." It studied the risk of oral contraceptives, particularly progestagen-only pills, and the likelihood of breast cancer in premenopausal women. Almost 10,000 women participated in the study who were under 50 years old between 1996 and 2017. The use of the mini-pill has dramatically increased over the last 10 years, and reportedly there were just as many prescriptions for the mini-pill as there were for combined oral contraceptives. Combined oral contraceptives are the traditional birth control pill that contains both oestrogen (synthetic estrogen) and progestin (a synthetic version of progesterone).
The researchers found that current or recent use of the progestagen-only form of birth control was associated with a similarly increased risk of breast cancer, regardless of whether it was administered through a pill, an injectable, implant, or IUD. "This study provides important new evidence that current or recent use of progestagen-only contraceptives is associated with a slight increase in breast cancer risk, which does not appear to vary by mode of delivery, and is similar in magnitude to that associated with combined hormonal contraceptives," the study read.
The findings say women who take the mini-pill have 20-30% higher risk of breast cancer compared to before when they weren't on the pill. If a woman is on the mini-pill for five years, the risk of breast cancer for late teens is 8 out of every 100,000 women and 265 out of every 10,000 for women in their late 30s. However, this risk apparently goes away after a few years after you stop taking the medication.
Professor Gillian Reeves, one of the researchers, claims that there is nothing to be concerned about. "I don't really see that there's any indication here to say that women need to necessarily change what they're doing," he said. "The main purpose of doing this research was really to fill a gap in our knowledge."
"These findings suggest the use of hormonal contraceptives is associated with a slight increase in breast cancer risk before menopause," Dr. Michael Jones of The Institute of Cancer Research in London said. "The results were similar for different types of hormonal contraception, including progestogen-only contraceptives, where less is currently known about their risks."
Age is certainly a factor, as are genetics and lifestyle and diet choices. Experts recommend you speak with your doctor before making any decisions about changing your method of brith control.