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Birth control pills can trigger and prevent cancer, really?

Birth control pills are not only used to prevent pregnancy, but are also said to prevent cancer. Is it true that birth control pills can protect women from cancer? Find out more in the following review

Birth control pills can trigger and prevent cancer, really?

Get to know how birth control pills work in the body

Birth control pills are drugs that contain hormones to change how the body works and prevent pregnancy. Hormones are chemical substances that control the function of organs in the body. In this case, the hormones in the pill control the ovaries and uterus.

Most birth control pills contain a mixture of the hormones estrogen and progesterone to prevent ovulation (the release of an egg during the menstrual cycle). Pregnancy will not occur if you do not ovulate because there are no eggs that can be fertilized.

Birth control pills also work by thickening the mucus around the cervix, which makes it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus and reach any eggs that may have been released. The hormones in birth control pills can also sometimes affect the uterine lining, making it difficult for the egg to attach to the uterine wall.

Also Read: Take birth control pills when pregnant, this is a possible danger

Birth Control Pills and Cancer Development

A study published in JAMA Oncology revealed that women who take birth control pills can actually reduce their risk of cancer, such as ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. The researchers also analyzed other factors that might influence risk, including obesity, smoking and physical activity levels.

The study also found that the longer women used birth control pills, the lower their risk of getting them endometrial and ovarian cancer.

But recent research is still investigating more deeply into how birth control pills and cancer risk differ among women.

When researchers looked at lifestyle factors that influence cancer risk among birth control pill users, they found that women who used birth control pills and were obese, smoked, or did not exercise had the lowest rates of ovarian cancer.

While it’s not clear why this is, the researchers speculate that in the case of smokers, there may be some interaction between the hormones associated with birth control pills and tobacco.

In the case of endometrial cancer, obese women who use the pill for 10 years or more can reduce their risk of developing cancer. But otherwise in women who have normal weight and use birth control pills.

Although the results do not establish that birth control pills are an anti-cancer therapy, research into their potential to reduce cancer risk still needs to be done.

Also Read: 11 benefits of birth control pills besides preventing pregnancy (rarely known)

Types of Cancer Caused by Birth Control Pills

The results of research have stated that the use of birth control pills can increase the risk of certain cancers in women. Several types of cancer can be triggered by using birth control pills, including:

1. Cervical Cancer

Women who have used birth control pills for 5 years or more have a higher risk of developing cervical cancer than women who have never used them.

The longer a woman uses birth control pills, the greater the increased risk of developing cervical cancer.

One study found a 10% increased risk for less than 5 years of use, a 60% increased risk with 5–9 years of use, and a doubled risk with 10 years or more of use.

However, the risk of cervical cancer decreases over time after stopping the use of birth control pills.

2. Breast Cancer

Women who use or have recently stopped using the combination birth control pill have a slightly (about 20%) increased risk of breast cancer, compared with women who have never used it.

The increased risk varies from 0 to 60%, depending on the type of combination birth control pill. The risk of breast cancer also increases the longer you use it.

Also Read: 13 side effects of birth control pills and rules for their use

Types of Cancer That Can Be Reduced Risk by Birth Control Pills

Taking birth control pills is also believed to help reduce the risk of certain cancers in women, including:

1. Ovarian Cancer

Women who have used birth control pills have a 30 to 50% lower risk of ovarian cancer than women who have never used them.

This protective effect increases with duration of use and continues for up to 30 years after stopping birth control pills.

A reduced risk of ovarian cancer with use of birth control pills also occurs among women who carry harmful mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes (19-21).

2. Endometrial cancer

Women who have used birth control pills have a lower risk of developing endometrial cancer than women who have never used them.

The risk is reduced by at least 30%, with a greater reduction in risk the longer you use birth control pills. The protective effect will last for years after stopping use.

Studies in women have found that the risk reduction occurs primarily in long-term users who are smokers, obese, or rarely exercise.

3. Colorectal Cancer

Most birth control pills contain estrogen, a hormone to help reduce the amount of bile acids in the bloodstream, which has been linked to a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.

One study found that women who had used birth control pills were 20% less likely to develop colorectal cancer than women who had never used them. The reduction in risk is enormous even if the woman has recently used it.

Now, that’s a review of the benefits of birth control pills that can reduce and cause certain cancers in women. Hopefully this information is useful, Healthy Friends.

  1. Anonymous. 2018. Oral Contraceptives and Cancer Risk. (Accessed February 24, 2023)
  2. Anonymous. 2021. The Birth Control Pill and Breast Cancer Risk. (Accessed February 24, 2023)
  3. Miller, Kelly. 2016. Birth Control & Cancer: Which Methods Raise, Lower Risk. (Accessed February 24, 2023)
  4. Pagan, Camille N. 2021. Birth Control and Cancer Risk: What You Should Know. (Accessed February 24, 2023)

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