Birth control pills: lowering or even increasing cancer risk?

Birth control pills: lowering or even increasing cancer risk?

Birth control pills: lowering or even increasing cancer risk?


Birth control pills: lowering or even increasing cancer risk?

Oral contraception, or more commonly called birth control pills, is one of the most effective methods of preventing pregnancy. Used perfectly, in the sense of being consistently never overlooked and according to direction, the effectiveness of this pill can reach 99 percent. On the other hand, there are concerns about the risk of cancer as an effect of KB pills, in addition to other common side effects - such as weight gain and blood pressure. This article will examine thoroughly the effects of KB pills and their relation to cancer risk.

The link between the effect of KB pill and the risk of cancer

Birth control pills contain a synthetic version of two hormones produced naturally in a woman's body: estrogen and progestin. Both of these hormones regulate a woman's menstrual cycle. Therefore, fluctuating levels of these hormones play an important role in the occurrence of pregnancy. These contraceptive pills are available in two types, combination pills (containing progestins and estrogen) and mini pills (only progestins).

High levels of reproductive hormones have long been recognized as one of the risk factors for cancer in women. Regular use of KB pills can increase hormone levels in the body. From this comes the theory that the effects of KB pills can increase the risk of several types of cancer.

What cancer risks can increase from the effects of birth control pills?

The risk of the following three types of cancer is known to increase as a side effect of using long-term birth control pills.

1. Breast cancer

The increased risk of breast cancer as an effect of KB pills results from high levels of estrogen and progesterone which cause breast gland tissue to grow rapidly. This tissue growth can manifest as abnormal cells or tumors so that it may develop into cancer.

A study shows the risk of breast cancer in women who are or have used birth control pills found to be higher, especially if the duration of use has begun in adolescence. This risk is reported to decrease when usage is stopped.

On the other hand, too high estrogen and progestin levels are not always caused by birth control pills. This condition can also be caused by other factors, such as:

  • Having menstruation too early
  • Having menopause at an older age
  • First pregnancy at an older age
  • Never gives birth.

2. Cervical cancer

The risk of cervical cancer can increase with the duration of use of oral contraceptives. Regular consumption of birth control pills for five years or more is known to increase your risk of developing cervical cancer. It is not known exactly how the risk of cervical cancer increases in women taking oral contraceptives, but one possibility is its use which decreases the body's ability to fight infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) for cervical cancer prevention.

However, this risk is reported to decrease when usage is stopped. The risk of cervical cancer in women who no longer take birth control pills for 10 years after the last dose will be the same as women who have never used oral contraception.

3. Liver cancer

The risk of liver cancer can increase as an effect of birth control pills, both in benign and malignant tumor versions.

Benign liver tumors caused by oral contraceptives namely hepatocellular adenoma abnormal cells are characterized by swelling in the area of ​​the liver that is torn and causes bleeding, but rarely develops into cancer. While how the effects of KB pills can cause malignant liver tumors called hepatocellular carcinoma is unknown and the risk is only apparent when oral contraceptive use reaches a duration of about five years.

Cancer risk that can decrease after taking birth control pills

Although it has been shown to increase the risk of breast and cervical cancer, some cancers have also been reported to decline when women use birth control pills. Birth control pills show a protective effect on certain types of cancer, such as:

Ovarian cancer

Based on the results of the study, the use of birth control pills for at least one year can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by around 10 to 12 percent. The reduction in risk is also cumulative, where use for five years can reduce risk by 50 percent.

Even so, there are also reverse opportunities found in a study, where women who have a BRCA1 genetic mutation can experience increased ovarian cancer when taking birth control pills.

Endometrial cancer

A study shows the risk of endometrial cancer decreases with the duration of oral contraceptive use. These effects can also persist for a long time even though you have stopped using kB pills. In addition, the use of an IUD or spiral contraception is also known to reduce the risk of endometrial cancer.

If you are in doubt about the effects of birth control pills and your risk of cancer, consult your doctor before you start using it. This is especially important if you have major risk factors such as family-based cancer and other factors such as lifestyle, diet, and also certain health conditions that might affect your risk of cancer. Always consider the benefits and risks.

Also Read:

  • Watch out! Taking Hormonal birth control pills can increase the risk of depression.
  • Unintentionally taking birth control pills when you're pregnant, is it dangerous for babies?
  • Cervical Cancer Stages You Need to Watch Out for


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