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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » bcp and breast cancer

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Author Topic: bcp and breast cancer
audreytoo
Activist
Member # 58116

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I'm frustrated because I can't seem to get consistent information on whether the combined hormonal pill increases one's risk of breast cancer.

Planned Parenthood says, unequivocally, no, but my doctor told me that I should look into non-hormonal methods because my mother had breast cancer twice (it recurred after treatment). I was especially warned not to take the pill continuously (skipping the fourth week and going straight to the next pack) because this exposes me to even more estrogen, which is linked to the type of breast cancer my mom had. I got a second opinion, a different doctor who said not to worry because my mother tested negative for the breast cancer genes (BRCA 1 and 2) so I have no predisposition genetically speaking. My sister's doctor told her that there is an elevated breast cancer risk when one is on the pill until ten years after discontinuation, at which point the risk returns to normal. He suggested, then, to stop taking it at age 35 or so. Finally, the studies I look up online are mixed and some were performed when women took higher-dose pills several decades ago.

What is correct? I don't feel like I can make an educated choice about this with contradictory information.

Posts: 77 | From: U.S. | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Karybu
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 20094

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Unfortunately, the information that's out there is contradictory because not all the studies that have been done on this show the same thing: some indicate that the pill does increase the risk of breast cancer (although that increase is very slight), others show no increase in risk at all. For women who may be genetically predisposed to breast cancer, the pill and other forms of hormonal birth control are often not recommended, but the decision isn't as clear for women who are not genetically predisposed.

Ultimately, there are risks and benefits with every kind of medication, not just birth control, and it's up to you to decide what level of risk (or possible risk) you're comfortable with.

I'm sorry I can't be more helpful, but until we have more information, this isn't a question that can be very easily answered. If you know that you wouldn't be comfortable with even the possibility of a slightly increased risk of breast cancer, then hormonal birth control may not be a good choice for you.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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