Belfast Telegraph

Women on pill ‘have 20% higher risk of breast cancer’


By Lucinda Cameron

Women who use hormonal contraceptives have a 20% higher risk of breast cancer than those who don’t, major research revealed yesterday.

The study is said to be the largest study of its kind ever conducted on breast cancer and hormonal contraception such as the combined pill, the progesterone-only pill and non-oral products such as the hormone-intrauterine system (IUS).

It followed 1.8m Danish women aged under 50 from 1995 to 2012 to assess breast cancer risk in users of different types of hormonal contraception compared with women who had never used hormonal contraception.

Researchers found that in current and recent users of any type of hormonal contraception, the risk of breast cancer was 20% higher, with 11,517 new cancers detected during the study period.

The research was carried out by Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with the University of Aberdeen.

However, the study suggested the numbers affected were likely to be low.

Professor Phil Hannaford, who led the research team based in Aberdeen, said: “Breast cancer is rare in young women.

“In this study, the absolute extra risk of breast cancer associated with use of hormonal contraception among all women age 15 t0 49 was 1.3 per 10,000 person-years, or one extra breast cancer for every 7,690 women using hormonal contraception for one year.”

The study was published in New England Journal of Medicine.

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