The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Despite What You've Heard, Birth Control Still Increases Breast Cancer Risk -- Especially For Black Women

Birth control

After all the years that women have been on birth control, the risk of breast cancer linked to birth control remains high. This is a particular concern among black women younger than 40 who already have higher rates of breast cancer compared to white women, according to the Susan G. Komen Center. They also have more occurrences of triple negative breast cancer than women of other ethnicities.

Birth control and breast cancer

Birth control can increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer by up to 38 percent; the longer a woman has been on birth control, the greater the risk. Researchers saw a 9 percent increase for breast cancer risk among women taking hormonal contraceptives for under a year, but up to 38 percent among women who have used birth control for more than 10 years.

Not just the pill

The risk for breast cancer is not just linked to birth control pills but all forms of hormonal contraception, including the pill, injections or IUDs. A recent study showed that the risk can disappear among women who have used hormonal contraceptive for shorter periods of time. But even if women stopped using birth control after 5 years, a slight risk persists for at least five years after they stop.

Nearly 10 million American women use oral contraceptives. In addition, the number of women in the United States using intrauterine devices and hormonal contraceptive implants has also increased. This means more and more women are at risk for breast cancer related to birth control.

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