Women have a complex body mechanism, and if there is a re-fabrication of her hormonal constitution through any external means, it can lead to considerable health issues.
Birth control Pills have been in news for quite a long time because of their adverse effects on women’s health, specifically as drugs that can cause breast Cancer. If you think you have been relying on these pills as your primary means of contraception, you might want to reconsider your decision. Because the longer you use them, the greater are the chances of cancer cells affecting your body. And the bad news is, even the modern-day pills that promise to be safe and advanced, have been found to be equally risky. And the use of such pills is not limited to just being a contraceptive. Many women are prescribed these pills for other hormonal problems like PMS, acne, mood swings or heavy/irregular periods.
This revelation was made by a research team at the University of Copenhagen, where they studied the link between introducing birth control hormones in various forms (pills, IUD or injections) and the subsequent chances of developing Breast Cancer. Shockingly, the study established a whopping 38% rise in a woman’s odds of developing cancer with the use of hormonal contraceptives (1).
Who Are At A Higher Risk?
Not all women are afflicted by cancer just because they have been taking pills. However, you must be aware of certain factors that could increase your chances of cancer when pills come into the picture, and they are:
- Having a genetic history of cancer in the family.
- Having early periods.
- Having delayed menopause.
- Having children late or having no children at all.
- Breasts that may have the presence of abnormal cells.
- Having someone in the family who had or has breast cancer.
Consequently, having hormonal pills will not only aggravate the risk, it will also cause the disease to recur in case you had breast cancer before.
Other Observations Established By The Research
Now let us tell you some other findings of the research that you may find useful:
- The risk of cancer progresses as you grow older, and often the modified formulations of the pills can trigger the disease.
- In comparison to women who don’t use them, the users of these pills face a 20% surge in the risk for developing cancer.
- The probability of developing cancer gets very high, by almost 38%, if you have been using pills for over 10 years.
- Even if you have used the pills for over 5 years and discontinued it thereafter, your chances of developing cancer could still be high.
- If you have used birth control pills for a short time and have discontinued thereafter, you might not face any increased chances of developing cancer.
- The main offender in these contraceptives is the female synthetic hormone called ‘progestin,’ which may interfere with the hormonal balance of the body and affect other body mechanisms as well (2).
- It’s not just the pill, even intrauterine devices and injections contain progestin, so they all are equally damaging.
- You could have a 21% higher risk of developing cancer if you are using an IUD as a contraceptive.
But the birth control pills do not increase the risk of cancer elsewhere in the body, as it does in the case of the breast. In this regard, the correlation between the contraceptive pills and cancer has been somewhat inconsistent. For example, the pills have been found to reduce the possibility of ovarian and endometrial cancer, whereas it increases the chances of liver and cervical cancer (3).
It is very difficult to pinpoint why and how breast cancer could develop in certain individuals, but it is always possible to reduce and prevent the risk at your end. So, be aware of your body and family history, and go for other means of contraceptive that would be the safer options for you.
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