Does Taking Birth Control Pills Increase My Risk of Developing Breast Cancer?
Maybe. Studies that have examined the use of oral contraceptives as a risk factor for breast cancer have produced conflicting results. Some researchers think this might be due to the fact that the level of hormones in birth control pills has changed since they were first studied. Early birth control pills contained much higher levels of hormones than today's low-dose pills and posed a higher risk.
Scandinavian researchers have noted an increase in breast cancer in a group of women that were currently taking or had recently taken birth control pills. Longer use of the pill seemed to increase the risk. Similar research found that 10 years or more after women stopped using birth control pills, their breastcancer risk returned to the same level as if they had never used birth control pills.
However, another reputable study by Women's Contraceptive and Reproductive Experience (Women's CARE) done between 1994 and 1998 showed there was no increased risk of breastcancer in current or former users of birth control pills.
In general, most studies have not found an overall increased risk of breast cancer due to the use of oral contraceptives.
My Family Has a History of Breast Cancer. Should I Take Birth Control Pills?
Maybe. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women with a strong family history of breast cancer may have up to an 11 times higher risk of breast cancer if they have ever taken the pill. But experts caution that the study involved mainly women who took birth control pills prior to 1975, when it contained much higher levels of the hormones estrogen and progestin than today's lower-dose pill.