Women who now use or recently used hormone-based contraception face a 20 percent higher risk of breast cancer, although the overall risk for most women is relatively low, a new study of 1.8 million women in Denmark has concluded.
The overall increase in breast cancer risk was relatively small, about 20 per cent higher among current and recent users of oral contraceptives than among those who never used the drugs.
What those numbers mean in terms of actual women getting breast cancer who otherwise may not have is a bit less striking: there was about one extra breast cancer case diagnosed for every 7690 women who used hormonal contraception for a year.
Breast cancer is the second-biggest cancer killer of American women, after lung cancer.
Morch and Gaudet noted that breast cancer is relatively uncommon in younger women, so a young woman's overall risk of breast cancer still is low, even if she's taking the pill.
Researchers accounted for education, childbirth and family history of breast cancer, but they weren't able to adjust for several other known cancer risk factors such as alcohol use and limited physical activity, or protective factors such as breast-feeding. Women who used any form hormonal contraception for more than 10 years (1.38, 95% CI 1.26-1.51) had a higher risk compared to those who reported less than 1 year of use (1.09, 95% CI 0.96-1.23)(P=0.002), they wrote online in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The risk of breast cancer ranged from a 9 percent increase among women who used birth control for a year or less, to a 38 percent greater risk if a woman used it for 10 years or more.
"No one should take (oral contraceptives) without careful thought, but the advantages in avoiding an unwanted pregnancy will usually more than outweigh the very slightly increased risk of breast cancer", said Ashley Grossman, emeritus professor of endocrinologyat Britain's University of Oxford. After all, it means that almost a quarter of American women are doing something that might increase their risk of developing breast cancer by a third-in theory.
"Progestin-only products also increased the risk of breast cancer", Morch noted.
Officials with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said that they would carefully evaluate the new findings, but emphasized that hormonal contraceptives are for many women "among the most safe, effective and accessible options available". Yet the new study found increased risks that were similar in magnitude to the heightened risks reported in earlier studies based on birth control pills used in the 1980s and earlier, Hunter said.
"Estrogen has been the primary focus of breast cancer research in general, and so we know much more about it than we do progesterone", Gaudet said. Any woman's risk of breast cancer goes up as she gets older.
Duration of use also contributed to associated breast cancer risk. "That is not a huge risk increase", she told NBC News. "Thus, it is not exclusively estrogen that increases the risk of breast cancer".
The new study looked at all women in Denmark ages 15 to 49 who had not had cancer, clots in their veins, or treatment for infertility.
"No type of hormone contraceptive is risk-free unfortunately", said lead author Lina Morch of Copenhagen University Hospital. Condoms and diaphragms do not deliver hormones.
But the NNPC said they are importing about 100 percent of petroleum products adding that there is sufficient supply across board. Mohammed stated that Kachikwu told the federal cabinet that there is enough fuel in the country to last till January 2018.
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