This is one of the first study to fully access the cancer risks of birth control. PLOS Medicine estimates there for a woman on the progestogen-only pill for 5 years, is a 20%-30% risk within the next 15 years. They found that there were 8 extra-cases in 100,000 women on the pill (if they take it in their late teens) and 265 extra cases in 100,000 (if they take it in their late 30s). This risk goes away after a years of stopping the medication. Also, women who take conception were found to have a lower risk of womb and ovarian cancer.
The study consisted of accessing nearly 10,000 women, under the age of 50 with breast cancer and looking at 30,000 patient records held by family.
PLOS Medicine said the study was conducted because “given the increasing use of progestagen-only contraceptives, it is important to understand how their use is associated with breast cancer risk.” In 2020, there was almost as many prescriptions, in England, for oral progestagen-only contraceptives as combined oral contraceptives.
The progestogen-only pill is used for conception and to help with heavy, painful periods or hormonal conditions such as Endometriosis. It only contains progestogen whereas the combined pill also contains oestrogen. Taken everyday, with no breaks, the mini pie can be more than 99% effective against pregnancy.
The study is premised with the idea that “such risks need be balanced against the benefits of using contraceptives during the childbearing years”.