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"Birth Control Pills Might Raise A Woman’s Risk Of Breast Cancer, Study Says" - Max Gomez

  • CBS New York
  • (December 07, 2017)

Birth control pills and other hormonal methods of contraception might raise a woman’s risk for breast cancer, according to a new study. Cynthia Besteman was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer six years ago at the age of 46. Like many women her age, she used birth control pills when she was young. In many ways, Besteman fits the profile of a large new study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers found that women who took hormonal contraceptives, including pulls, patches and implantable devices, had a 20 percent increased risk of breast cancer, and the risk was higher the longer the contraceptives were used. Twenty percent sounds like a lot, but Elisa Port, MD, FACS, associate professor of surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, chief of breast surgery, and co-director of the Dubin Breast Center at The Mount Sinai Hospital, said “really the overall numerical increase is quite marginal. When the risk goes from 55 women per 100,000 to 68 women per 100,000 - that’s 13 more women per 100,000.” But experts say even if there is a small increase in breast cancer risk, the pill actually protects against other cancers. “The pill can protect against ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and perhaps colon cancer. And some of these cancers – particularly ovarian – are far more lethal than breast cancer,” added Dr. Port.

- Elisa Port, MD, FACS, Associate Professor, Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Chief, Breast Surgery, Co-Director, Dubin Breast Center, The Mount Sinai Hospital

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