Oral Contraceptive Effects

There has been much controversy over the fact that high levels of estrogen can be the cause of many cancers such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometriosis.  It has been found that there are many different causes of breast cancer, cervix cancer, ovarian cancer, and liver cancer; yet normal sexual hormones, like estrogen, can affect your chances of these cancers; and as well as your chances of heart disease. Explore this page further to learn how your chances of getting one of the cancers listed above and/or heart disease are effected by taking oral contraceptives. See if you or someone you know is at risk!

A survey was taken on heathguru.com asking both men and women of all ages if themselves or their current girlfriends/wives are currently taking birth control pills as their means of contraception.  The results?  Roughly 30% responded yes to using “the pill”.  Are you or your girlfriend currently taking a birth control pill?  Studies have found that women who are using birth control pills  have a greater risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer, and liver cancer, but have shown to have a lower risk for ovarian cancer.  Is taking an oral contraceptive worth the possible risks or advantages?  That’s for you to decide!

Survey Question: Are you (or your current girlfriend/wife) on the pill?

Definitely | 29%

Definitely Not | 37%

I Have No Idea | 4%

Not Relevant – Single Guy | 30%

Negative Effects of Oral Contraceptives on Cervical Cancer

A 2003 analysis by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found an increased risk of cervical cancer with longer use of oral contraceptives. Researchers analyzed data from 28 studies that included 12,531 women with cervical cancer. The data suggested that the risk of cervical cancer may decrease after taking the pill has stopped.  Researchers found an increase in risk among women who had used oral contraceptives for longer than 5 years. Risk was also increased among women who began using oral contraceptives before age 20 and women who had used oral contraceptives within the past 5 years (“Oral Contraceptives and Cancer Risk”).

Negative Effects of Oral Contraceptives on Breast Cancer

A 1996 analysis of worldwide data conducted by the Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer found that women who were current or recent users of birth control pills had a slightly elevated risk of developing breast cancer. The risk was highest for women who started using birth control pills as teenagers. However, 10 or more years after women stopped using oral contraceptives, their risk of developing breast cancer returned to the same level as if they had never used birth control pills.  In a National Cancer Institute (NCI) study published in 2003, researchers examined risk factors for breast cancer among women ages 20 to 34 compared with women ages 35 to 54. Women diagnosed with breast cancer were asked whether they had used oral contraceptives for more than 6 months before diagnosis and, if so, whether the most recent use had been within 5 years, 5 to 10 years, or more than 10 years. The results indicated that the risk was highest for women who used oral contraceptives within 5 years prior to diagnosis, particularly in the younger group (“Oral Contraceptives and Cancer Risk”).

Negative Effects of Oral Contraceptives on Liver Cancer

Several studies have found that oral contraceptives increase the risk of liver cancer in populations usually considered at low risk.  These include white women in the United States and Europe who do not have liver disease. In these studies, women who used oral contraceptives for longer periods of time were found to be at increased risk for liver cancer. However, oral contraceptives  didn’t increase the risk of liver cancer in Asian and African women, who are considered high risk for this disease. Researchers believe this is because other risk factors, such as a possible hepatitis infection or possibly living in an underdeveloped country, outweigh the effect that oral contraceptives would have (“Oral Contraceptives and Cancer Risk”).

Positive Effects of Oral contraceptives on Ovarian and Endometrial Cancer

Studies have consistently shown that using oral contraceptives reduces the risk of ovarian cancer. In a 1992 analysis of 20 studies of oral contraceptive use and ovarian cancer, researchers from Harvard Medical School found that the risk of ovarian cancer decreased with using oral contraceptives for longer periods of time. Results showed a 10 to 12 percent decrease in risk of ovarian cancer after use of an oral contraceptive for 1 year, and approximately a 50 percent decrease after using an oral contraceptive for 5 years (“Oral Contraceptives and Cancer Risk”).

The use of oral contraceptives has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of endometrial cancer. This effect increases with the length of time oral contraceptives are used.  Unlike most of the negative effects, the reduced risk for endometrial cancer continues for many years after a woman stops using oral contraceptives (“Oral Contraceptives and Cancer Risk”).

Negative Effects of Oral contraceptives on Heart Disease

Not only do birth control pills contribute to the effects of the above cancers, but also can have a negative effect on heart disease.  This video will let you in on some more insight on how birth control pills with high levels of estrogen can and have caused an increased number of those diagnosed with a heart disease due to a build up of plaque in the arteries (Empowered Health News).

A study from Gent University in Belgium shows the relation between birth control pills and higher probability in cancer diagnosis

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