Birth Control and Cancer

A recent Cancer Research study shows high-dose estrogen birth control pills may increase a woman’s breast cancer risk, but a New York oncologist says women shouldn’t be overly concerned. He suggested they look at this in conjunction with other medical information and studies. There is a possibility that estrogen can incite breast cancer, explains George Raptis, MD, vice president of the oncology network at the North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute. He adds the birth control pills referenced in the study may have accelerated an already-forming breast cancer. “Now, most of these studies are associative, meaning looking back and trying to assign a cause and effect,” Dr. Raptis says. “And we can’t say that assuredly. That takes prospective, randomized trials to do that. But this study must be looked at in context with other studies showing some increase with prolonged use.” Women concerned about these birth control pills should consult their physician, get regular breast exams and frequently perform self exams.

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