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Careful while taking birth control pills

Posted December 13th, 2017, 10:48 AM IST
Hyderabad: Women using birth control pills, intrauterine devices and other hormonal contraceptives for a long period are at a higher risk of breast cancer, according to a recent study. The risk increased by as much as 38 per cent for those who used these for more than 10 years, while it was less than 9 per cent for women who used it for just three to five years.

The 1.8 million women in the 15 to 49 age group, who participated in the study globally, remained under observation for 10 years. At the end of it, researchers found that women who used contraceptives for more than five years were at a higher risk than those who had used it for a smaller period of time, which meant as less as one year.

Senior gynecologist Dr Geeta Naidu said, “Contraceptives are used in a time-bound manner in India and the risk factors are also well-known. Contraceptives have indeed helped in avoiding unwanted pregnancies, and the risk factors must not be misunderstood. However, loss of blood during abortions and weakness associated with it are some of the factors that can’t be mitigated.”

Experts state that the risk of breast cancer due to contraceptives in women younger than 35 years is much lower than those above 45-50 years. The study found that cancer risk is 13: 1,00,000 among women who’ve used contraceptives for less one to three years. But in women who have used it for more than five years, the risk continued to be high where it was found to be 16: 1,00,000 persons.

Dr Srinivas Chilkhuri, another senior oncologist, said, “Contraceptives are one of the causes of breast cancer but not the only cause. Hence, other factors like genetics, obesity and several others have together a collective role to play in emergence of breast cancer in women. In a risk vs benefits scenario, contraceptives have really helped women lead a better life.”