Yasmin and cancer risks

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Juliaho90
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Yasmin and cancer risks

Unread postby Juliaho90 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:04 pm

Hello,

I have been on the pill for 3 months now. And all has been good. But I am now worried about taking Yasmin and it’s associated risk with Breast and cervical cancer. More worried about breast cancer though.

My grandmother had breast cancer, so does this mean that I have a family history of breast cancer? Or does family history refer to parents usually? I told the doctor that none of my first degree family members (Mother,
Sister) had breast cancer and she said that’s alright. She didn’t ask about other family members or relatives. If my Grandmother had breast cancer, does this mean that I shouldn’t actually be taking Yasmin or other birth control pills?

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Re: Yasmin and cancer risks

Unread postby Gone.Sorry. » Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:16 pm

How much did you talk about this with your doctor? Because questions like this are generally best suited to discuss with your doctor, who has a much better picture of your overall health and risk factors than we will!

However, I will note that the link between birth control and breast cancer is weak and poorly understood (ie, the study that observed the link didn't account for other potential risk factors, such as drinking alcohol). Harvard Medicine has a really good breakdown of what the study results mean: https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-h ... ast-cancer
The increased risk for cervical cancer, too, is small, and can be more dependent on other factors (like contracting HPV) rather than the pill: https://www.mdanderson.org/publications ... 90624.html
And interestingly enough, the contraceptive pill can actually lower the chance of contracting endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancer.

Taking the pill, much like anything else we do in life (the climate where we live, at what elevation we live, what we eat, how much we move, how much sleep we get, how much alcohol we imbibe, if we diet, how balanced our diet is, how well we clean our food for pesticides, how stressed we are, how often we clean our homes, etc.), is a choice associated with any number of risks that we may not even realize we are taking. The good news about the pill is that we do know quite a bit about taking it, and in this case, you can take a rather informed risk.

Yes, your grandmother counts for your family history, but one family member (and one further removed from you) shouldn't largely impact your chances of developing a disease/illness - and the study that found a slightly increased risk of breast cancer from the pill found that family history of cancer and being on the pill didn't seem to really impact the chance of breast cancer any further.

You're the one who can best make decisions regarding your own health, but I will say that taking the pill isn't what any reasonable person would likely describe as taking an "unreasonable risk" regarding your health.

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Re: Yasmin and cancer risks

Unread postby Amanda F. » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:10 am

Hi Juliaho90,

Thanks for your question! Yes, your grandmother does count as part of your family history. I would give your doctor a call and let them know that you remembered something else you'd like to add to your record so that they know that your grandmother had breast cancer.

Ultimately, this is a decision for you to make, with your doctor. Like horriblegoose said, it can be complicated and we don't fully understand the links between cancer and birth control just yet. However, family history may be a factor that determines how likely you are to get cancer, and whether or not hormonal birth control is an added risk factor.

There's more information here about the safety and risks of various types of birth control. Is birth control safe? Are certain brands best?

If you and your doctor decide not to continue using the pill, you have other options that are not hormonal! This guide lists them allll out for you. Birth Control Bingo

Juliaho90
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Re: Yasmin and cancer risks

Unread postby Juliaho90 » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:50 am

Thank you for the response!

Does this mean that there is no definite link between breast cancer and birth control pills? It doesn’t mean that if I have a family history of breast cancer and I take birth control pills, I am certain to have breast cancer in future right?

I understand that there are other factor to consider like lifestyle, alcohol intake etc. I just don’t want to end up with breast cancer just because I take birth control pills!

I think I will ask the doctor when I go back to refill my pills. Does it mean that I can continue to take my pills in the meantime? I still have 3 cycles to go.

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Re: Yasmin and cancer risks

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:24 am

Hi Juliaho,

If you continue to take birth control pills, that doesn't automatically mean you will have breast cancer in the future. After all, if every person who had a family history of breast cancer who went on birth control pills got breast cancer themselves, that would make it a far less safe and popular method than it is (too, it may help to know that the pill is one of the most studied types of medication).

If you want to continue having protection from your pills, then you should continue taking them as normal until your next appointment. Too, as with any medication, it's best to have a conversation with your healthcare provider before you stop taking it, rather than after.

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Re: Yasmin and cancer risks

Unread postby Amanda F. » Mon Feb 03, 2020 10:04 am

Sam is right - it's okay to keep taking them, and it'd be best to chat with your doctor before you make any changes. If you're concerned about potential risk until then, you can rest at ease as it's highly unlikely that a few months on the pill would do anything to you in the long term.

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Re: Yasmin and cancer risks

Unread postby Juliaho90 » Tue May 26, 2020 6:06 am

Hello, I just wanted to follow up as I haven’t been able to refill my pills because of the lockdown. Also I have been doing quite a lot of reading online regarding the pills as I have stopped taking them in April.

I know it’s been said that the birth control pill has been studied widely and is safe to take. But does taking the pill cause cervical and breast cancer? I know there is an increased risk, but does anyone knows how much the risk is and if it’s ok to take it long term? I am 30 this year and I am afraid that it would cause me to have breast and cervical cancer in future.

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Re: Yasmin and cancer risks

Unread postby Amanda F. » Tue May 26, 2020 11:50 am

Hi Julioho90,

There is a weak link between taking birth control pills and developing breast or cervical cancer. But, like we talked about in the posts above, there are many factors that may change whether or not taking birth control is likely to increase your risk of getting cancer. Whether or not you decide to take birth control pills is really a conversation you need to have with your medical provider, as they are trained to give you medical advice that is best for you personally. We can't do that here as we aren't physicians.

I'm noticing that this issue seems to cause you some anxiety, as you've brought it up before a few times. Would you like to talk more about that? We could also talk more about methods of birth control that aren't hormonal and therefore won't add any risk of cancer.

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Re: Yasmin and cancer risks

Unread postby Juliaho90 » Wed May 27, 2020 5:59 am

Hi Amanda,

I think the hormones in the pills don’t stay in the body forever, am I right? I think Heather mentioned in one of the articles that it stays in the body for only 2 to 3 days? And they get flushed out? That’s why we need to take the pills everyday to prevent pregnancy, which makes a lot of sense to me. How does that cause a increase in breast cancer and cervical cancer risk? Is it because I am taking hormonal pills more regularly, and thus introducing more hormones into my body, that could potentially go haywire?

I don’t trust condoms as I think they tear easily due to the friction. I don’t want anything invasive or anything inserted into me, so IUDs are out. Patches are hormonal as well, so I would prefer pills vs patch.

Juliaho90
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Re: Yasmin and cancer risks

Unread postby Juliaho90 » Wed May 27, 2020 6:20 am

Also, if a study says that there is a 24% increase in Breast cancer risk, does that mean that there is a 24% chance of Breast cancer? Not sure if they mean the same thing...

Can I continue to take the pills if my grandmother had breast cancer?

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Re: Yasmin and cancer risks

Unread postby Heather » Wed May 27, 2020 1:32 pm

No, that's not what that means. That would mean that what that study is saying is that it found that people who are in the group they are talking about have 24% more of a risk of breast cancer than people not in that group. Just FYI, the statistics on this I've seen are more often less than 10% when it comes to OCP users and breast cancer risks, and even that is considered iffy by a lot of people, particularly given that so many people use OCPs that it may well be increases in breast cancer incidence aren't actually because of the pill at all. Get what I mean?

By all means, hormones from contraception only stay in the body around as long as we are using that method. How estrogens -- that's what we're talking about with any kind of hormone use and breast cancer -- might increase breast cancer risks has to do with levels of estrogens in our bodies (if we take them, we can have higher levels), and if and when estrogen effectively triggers cancer. But again, this really doesn't seem likely based on most studies. This review may be helpful to you: https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-h ... ast-cancer

Having a family history of breast cancer is not considered a reason not to prescribe hormonal methods of contraception. But you can certainly have a conversation with your prescribing physician or ANRP about them if you want.

Just so you know, condoms actually do NOT tear easily: in fact, when used properly, including with an added lubricant, only about one in every 2000 condoms will tear. It's actually quite difficult to tear a condom when you're using them correctly. Some other things you can consider that don't use estrogen (again, this isn't likely an issue, but if it was, it'd be the estrogen in these methods that create it) are mini-pills or Depo-Provera injections. I see you aren't into anything being inserted, or I'd mention IUDs and the implant.
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Juliaho90
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Re: Yasmin and cancer risks

Unread postby Juliaho90 » Fri May 29, 2020 7:18 pm

Thank you Heather.

I took my last Yasmin pill on April 24, and my withdrawal bleed started from April 28 to 30. It’s now day 33 of my cycle and my “natural period” isn’t back yet.

My cycle before the pills have always been irregular, so it ranges from 39 days to 54 days the longest. Is it possible that post pill amenorrhoea might happen to me? I know It takes a while, but how long must I wait before I see the doctor?

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Re: Yasmin and cancer risks

Unread postby Sam W » Sat May 30, 2020 8:27 am

Hi Juliaho90,

It is very common for your cycle to take some time to return to normal after stopping the pill. It varies from person to person, but the average amount of time seems to be about three months.

Juliaho90
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Re: Yasmin and cancer risks

Unread postby Juliaho90 » Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:00 pm

Hi Sam,

Thank you for the response.

I had my last pill on April 24 and withdrawal bleed happened from April 28 to 30. After which I stopped the pill and was waiting for my “natural” period to begin again.

I had some bleeding that started yesterday, it started with some spotting and then gradually more (filling 3/4 of a pad). Yesterday was 40 days after I stopped taking my Yasmin pill. And the bleed is still continuing today. I had the pre-menstrual cramps (as I used to have) the week before, and some cramps yesterday when I started bleeding. The bleed is still continuing today, although I see the flow/amount is much less than when before I took the pill.

Is this my “natural” period or is this some kind of breakthrough bleed? The cramps are pretty similar to what I had previously before I started taking Yasmin.. so I just thought I’d ask to be sure that this is normal?

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Re: Yasmin and cancer risks

Unread postby Alexa » Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:53 am

Hey Juliaho90,

This sounds like a normal period, and not a breakthrough or withdrawal bleed. To have a withdrawal bleed, you need to be "withdrawing" from active use of the BC pill (e.g. taking your sugar pills for the breakthrough bleed week). You are no longer withdrawing from the pill because you haven't taken it in over a month.

I also want to reiterate what other folks said earlier, which is that even if your period is a bit irregular over the next few months as your body re-acclimates to its natural hormonal cycle, this isn't a cause for concern! It happens often. Of course, if you ever worry about the amount or frequency of bleeding you experience, we'd still recommend you check in with a medical provider just in case.
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