The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first oral contraceptive in 1960 (Enovid). Before taking birth control pills, it is essential to know various points such as directions, effectiveness, and side-effects. For example, you might wonder: do birth control pills cause breast cancer. This made up one-quarter of all new cancer cases in 2018. Having need-to-know information can provide better results when using birth control pills and help to minimize risks and side-effects. It’s also important to separate fact from fiction since much of the information available during the Digital Age is either wrong or misleading.
Birth control provides women with many benefits. Besides avoiding unwanted pregnancies, they can also help with acne, heavy menstrual cycles, and PMS. There are other possible benefits that scientists are studying. It’s just as important for contraceptives to be safe. For example, one concern that many women have is that birth control pills can boost the risk of breast cancer because their hormones could over-stimulate her breast cells. So the main issues are whether all oral contraceptives can increase breast cancer risk or just ones with hormones. Another issue is whether you should use birth control pills if you’ve already been diagnosed with cancer.
What Exactly Are Oral Contraceptives?
The history of birth control dates back thousands of years. Different methods have been used, including animal intestine and fish bladder contraceptives dating back to about 3000 BC. Different methods were used over the next millennia.
Over a century ago in 1916, American nurse/writer Margaret Sanger opened the first US birth control clinic. A few decades later in 1938, the US lifted the country’s nationwide ban on birth control.
Sanger developed the first-ever birth control pill in 1950 while in her 80s. She had to raise $150,000 to fund the project. A decade later, the US FDA approved the first=-ever oral contraceptive in 1960. It was known as “Enovid.”
In 1965, the US Supreme Court ruled that married couples had the legal right to use birth control. An irony is that birth control was still illegal in nearly half the 50 US states.
Another major ruling happened in 1972. During that year the Supreme Court ruled that birth control was legal for all citizens. Regardless of whether a person was married or not.
Then in the 1980s, birth control pills with low amounts of hormones were launched. It is the type of birth control pill that’s sometimes linked to breast cancer.
Since then, there have been several developments related to birth control pills/contraceptives. These items have increased the safety/effectiveness of the products. Many new products have been rolled out to help prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
When picking a new birth control pill it’s critical to know the facts about these issues. For example, you’ll want to know whether or not studies have been done about possible side-effects and risks of serious diseases like cancer. This can help to keep the birth control products as safe and effective as possible.
Do Birth Control Pills Cause Breast Cancer?
Contraceptives, in general, are used for preventing unwanted pregnancies and STDs. However, they also provide other benefits like anti-acne, heavy menstrual cycles, PMS, and mood swings. Studies show they also might help to decrease the risk of some kinds of cancer.
There’s a belief that pills with hormones could block stimulate breast cells too much. It might increase the chance of getting breast cancer. There’s a greater chance if your chance of breast cancer is higher due to:
- Past biopsies showing cancer cells
- Abnormal gene with breast cancer
- Family history
In case you have a breast cancer diagnosis, you shouldn’t use contraceptives with hormones. The reason is that some studies show they might increase the chance cancer could return.
One study researched if there’s a higher risk of breath cancer among women between 20 to 49 years old. They discovered that birth control pills with high estrogen seemed to increase breast cancer risk. However, low-estrogen didn’t seem to produce the same results.
It’s critical to note that this study showed that high-estrogen birth control was linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. It wasn’t related to all birth control pills.
Researchers have been studying the link between birth control pills and breast cancer for several years. A 1996 study review found that birth control pills with two kinds of hormones slightly increased the risk of breast cancer.
Risk Factors And How To Prevent Breast Cancer
There are other factors linked to a woman having breast cancer. Factors like:
- Family history: It is necessary to review the details of various studies related to these two.
- Birth control pills high in estrogen: Another study showed that women who took birth control pills during the year before had a 50% boost in breast cancer risk. It is whether or not the pill contains high doses of hormones. Hormones, when taken in high dosages, seem to increase the chance of getting cancer.
- Age. If a woman is under 50 years old and her family has no history of breast cancer, then the risk of breast cancer is under 2%.
- Genes: If you have this abnormal gene and have a family history of breast cancer, it’s recommended to avoid birth control.
There are certain situations when there’s a very low risk of birth control pills that would cause breast cancer. That includes:
- No family history of cancer
- Younger woman
In this situation, it is mostly safe to take birth control pills. A good option would be a safe/effective pill with low-estrogen. It may help lower the risk of breast cancer.
However, if you have a higher risk of breast cancer, it is critical to be more cautious when going on “the pill.” It is especially true if you have been diagnosed with a serious disease.
If you have a higher risk of breast cancer, you should talk to your doctor about other options. In some cases, other types of contraceptives would be a better option. It’s also important to address any questions/concerns you have with your doctor.
It’s important to get all the need-to-know info required to make a wise choice when selecting a birth control pill. This will help you to select a safe/effective pill after learning does birth control pills cause breast cancer.