Oral Contraceptives Raise Breast Cancer Risk, Study Reveals

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oral-birth-control-cancer-risksThe All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has published a study on a group of reproductive-health factors that may be associated with an increased breast cancer risk, including the use of oral contraceptives.

The study was conducted to investigate the possible association of a variety of reproductive factors with breast cancer. Researchers in the Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutrition Unit of the AIIMS evaluated data on 640 women outpatients at the institute, India Today reports. Half of the women had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, half had not. The researchers investigated the women’s age at marriage, age at the birth of a first child, duration of breastfeeding, and the women’s history of abortion and use of oral contraceptives. The study was published in the latest issue of the Indian Journal of Cancer.

According to the study findings, breast cancer was 9.50 times higher in women with a history of use of oral contraceptive pills, according to Dr. Umesh Kapil, of the Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutrition Unit, one of the study’s authors. According to India Today, some researchers have suggested that breastfeeding may reduce a woman’s breast cancer risk by temporarily removing potential chemical carcinogens from the breasts.

In their abstract, the authors write that the women with breast cancer had a lower mean age at menarche (onset of menstruation), higher age at marriage, higher mean age at last childbirth, lower mean duration of breastfeeding, higher number of abortions, late age at menopause, a history of use of oral contraceptives pills, and a family history of breast cancer as compared to the controls. The authors say their results reveal a strong association of reproductive factors with breast cancer in the Indian population.