A recent study has revealed that all hormonal contraceptives, including the increasingly popular progestogen-only pills, carry a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. The research emphasizes that the increased risk of breast cancer needs to be weighed against the benefits of hormonal contraceptives, including the protection they provide against other forms of female cancer.
While previous studies have established an increased risk of breast cancer from combined contraceptives that use both estrogen and progestogen, little research had been performed previously on their links to breast cancer. The latest research, which appeared in the PLOS Medicine publication, discovered that the possibility of a woman developing breast cancer was comparable for those taking hormonal contraceptives that contained both estrogen and progestogen compared to those who solely took progestin-based contraceptives.
The findings are consistent with previous studies, including a large-scale 1996 study. Regardless of the mode of delivery, whether it’s an oral pill, IUD, implant, or injection, and whether it’s a combined pill or progestogen-only, the danger remains roughly unchanged.
To calculate the absolute excess risk associated with hormonal contraceptives, the authors of the study took into account the likelihood of breast cancer increasing with age. Between the ages of 16 and 20, using hormonal contraceptives for five years led to eight occurrences of breast cancer per 100,000 women. However, between the ages of 35 and 39, the incidence rose significantly to 265 cases per 100,000 women.
It is important to note that the study does not suggest that women should avoid hormonal contraceptives altogether. Rather, the study emphasizes the importance of informed decision-making and the need for women to discuss the risks and benefits of different forms of contraception with their healthcare providers.