Recent investigations about the possible link between female contraceptive pills and breast cancer have frightened the world
The “New England Journal of Medicine” has concluded after eleven years of studies that contraceptive pills increase the probability of developing breast cancer. This study was addressed to a specific population: 1.8 million of women in Denmark under 50 year of age. For these women, 62% of them consumed contraceptive pills, 11.517 were diagnosed with breast cancer.
Moreover, it was discovered that the risk increases progressively, depending on how much time the pills has been used: if for less than a year, the risks starts at 9%. If the consumption has been for more than 10 years, the risk increases to a 38%.
¿Which are the pros and cons of contraceptive pills?
Pills prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce endometrium and ovary cancer risks. Women find themselves in a dilemma: should we stand by the risks and value its benefits or ignore the benefits to avoid the risks? Case studies can prove certain evidence or correlation; however, it is not completely demonstrated that contraceptive pills are the direct cause of breast cancer.
Something that can’t be denied is that sustained use of contraceptives may increase the risk of getting breast cancer; however, when consumption is just for a brief period, the risk is more difficult to prove. Professor David Hunter states that among women younger than 35, whom were included in the study within the group that took the pill for less than a year, there was only one extra case for each 500.000 women.
¿Which are the alternatives?
First, we must consider the fact that although this study has been active over the past ten years, it is still unconcluded because while some experts declare that the risk is eliminated after 5 years of stopping the consumption of pills, others say that the risk disappears immediately after stopping the consumption. In this sense, experts need more time to conclude the investigation.
Latin American Post | Natalia Merizalde Rubio
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto