Oral contraceptives increase breast cancer risk, study shows

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According to a meta-analysis published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings¸ but virtually ignored in the mainstream press, use of oral contraceptives increases risk of premenopausal breast cancer, writes Dennis Byrne (Chicago Tribune 12/3/07).

The greatest increase in risk, 52%, was in parous women who used oral contraceptives for four or more years before their first full-term pregnancy (Kahlenborn C, et al.Mayo Clinic Proc 2006;81:1290-1302, 2006).

Byrne notes that stories about other breast cancer risks were plentiful, including one about sleeping with a night light on. The National Institute of Cancer doesn’t mention the study on its web site, nor does the American Cancer Society. The latter concedes only that “it is still not clear what part” the pill plays in breast cancer.

Curiously, those who protest about government and big business failing to “do enough” to protect consumers are silent about this particular risk, Byrne writes.

“Here, I also should clarify some things to all the folks who are itching to hit the ‘post comment’ button. Kahlenborn is pro-life, but what has that to do with his research? As for me, I am not opposed to contraception, oral or otherwise. I am not plotting to get the pill banned. I am not writing this column for hidden religious reasons. I’m not saying the Kahlenborn study is the last word…. I’m writing about it because people have the right to know about the existence of health information, even if it is contradictory to the given wisdom.”

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1 Comment

  1. Re the Dennis Byrne article on the relationship between oral contraceptives and breast cancer: As the founder and directur of a breast screening center I attended a conference over fifteen years ago when I had the opportunity to pose this very question to one of the speakers, an avowed feminist. She PUT ME DOWN WITH A FINESSE AS DEFT AS YOU CAN IMAGINE. Never mind that I had six years of patient registration forms with this question included in the patients’ histories and enough followup to make for what I thought to be a legitimate subject for discussion.