NEW DELHI — A new study of women in India reveals that having used birth-control pills elevates the risk of developing breast cancer nearly tenfold, and having had an abortion increases their risk of breast cancer more than sixfold.Share
The study, published in the most recent issue of the Indian Journal of Cancer, matched 320 women with newly diagnosed breast cancer with 320 healthy women of similar age, economic and social status and medical background, and it found that “the risk of breast cancer was 9.50 times higher in women having a history of consumption of oral contraceptive pills.”
Doctors at the Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutrition Unit at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi conducted the study to investigate the association of various reproductive factors with breast cancer.
“We found long-term use of oral contraceptive pills (OCP) higher among those suffering from breast cancer, 11.9%, compared to healthy individuals, 1.2%,” Dr. Umesh Kapil, a lead author of the study told the Times of India. Breast cancer is caused by repeated exposure of cells to circulating ovarian hormones, he explained, and long-term use of birth-control pills, which contain estrogen and progesterone, may contribute to the elevated risk.
“The relationship between contraceptive use and occurrence of breast cancer is not known,” Dr. G. K. Rath, the head of Bhim Rao Ambedkar Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital, told the Times of India in the wake of the study. “But there is enough evidence to show the hormonal imbalance caused by them, increasing the risk. Early menarche, late marriage and childbirth and abortions are important factors.” (Read more.)