OK guys, here is the last post on birth control in this little series.
My friend was talking to me the other day about how she can’t go on birth control because of a family history of breast cancer. I thought this topic would be a good thing to share with all of you since contraceptive use is so common.
Basically, to put it into a few words, many contraceptives that use hormones have been shown to INCREASE one’s risk of getting breast and cervical cancer and DECREASE the risk of getting ovarian and endometrial cancer.
Woah that’s a mouthful. Let me explain the what and possible why of it all.
Cancer: when cells in the body start to basically grow out of control – they keep replicating which can causes masses of cells that replicate into tumors. These replicating cells can occur in any part of the body and spread to any part of the body.
- this is cancer in the breast and can occur anywhere in the breast tissue
- research has shown there is a slight increase in risk when taking birth control, possibly because of the hormones involved
- going off the oral contraceptive for at least 10 years has been shown to eliminate this risk
- this is cancer in the cervix (the lower part of the uterus) and is usually caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV)
- research has shown that taking birth control pills for at least 5 years increases the risk of this type of cancer
- the increased risk shown is not permanent (just like the cervical cancer risk)
- this is a cancer of the inner lining of the uterus
- pills containing estrogen and progesterone have been shown to lower risk
- the risk continues to decrease as one continues contraceptive use
- these benefits exist even after stopping birth control
- this is a cancer of the ovaries (the reproductive glands that produce eggs in females)
- pills containing both estrogen and progesterone have been shown to decrease the risk of ovarian cancer, starting a few months after use
So, what does this mean? This means that it’s kinda important to talk to your doctor before going on birth control, especially if you think you may have family history for one of these types of cancer.