hormonal birth control

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Does Hormonal Birth Control Cause Breast Cancer?

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Oct. 18 2019, Updated 8:04 p.m. ET

A study conducted by The New England Journal of Medicine found that there may be a potential linkage between hormonal birth control and risk of breast cancer. According to Women’s Health, the study, which followed 1.8 million Danish women for over 10 years, found that within every 100,000 women there were 13 extra diagnoses of breast cancer a year due to hormonal birth control. 

There is no reason to panic, however. Doctors who weighed in were knowledgeable of a linkage and the risk may not be that high. According to WH, older versions of contraceptives contained far more estrogen than newer brands. Doctors and medical professionals believe because of this, the risk has lowered.

They also reported that risk increases the longer you take birth control. Doctors told WH that women should not be alarmed, but more cautious if anything. If you’ve been on hormonal birth control methods for a long time it is suggested you should cut back and switch in non-hormonal birth control methods such as condoms, copper IUDs, sponges, diaphragms, cervical caps, or spermicide. Additionally, it is good to know if your family has a strong history of breast cancer. If they do, it is ideal to mention this to your doctor so that you can find the best birth control option for you. 

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Doctors also report that while there is a risk and linkage between hormonal contraceptives and breast cancer, there are many other factors that play into the development of the disease. It is highly unlikely that hormonal birth control, on its own, would cause breast cancer.

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