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Contraceptives may increase breast cancer risk in women — Study

A new study has revealed that women who use contraceptives are at higher risk of breast cancer, regardless of the kind of birth control pills used.

According to the study, progestin-only and progestin with estrogen contraceptives are associated with a slight increase in breast cancer risk.

The study published in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine noted that the risk of breast cancer was similar regardless of whether birth control was progestin and estrogen combined or progestin only.

The World Health Organisation, however, said approximately half of breast cancer developed in women with no identifiable risk factor other than being a female and over 40 years of age.

The global health organisation further explained that certain factors increase the risk of breast cancer.

The WHO listed the factors as increasing age, obesity, harmful use of alcohol, family history of breast cancer, history of radiation exposure, reproductive history, tobacco use, and postmenopausal hormone therapy.

However, the new study found that those prescribed oral combined contraceptives, injectable progestagens, and progestagen-releasing IUD contraceptives were at increased risk of breast cancer.

Scientists from the United Kingdom used the Clinical Practical Research Datalink for their study. They evaluated the medical records of 9,498 women under 50 with invasive breast cancer. All the women received their diagnosis between 1996 and 2017.

The researchers also looked at 18,171 medical records to use as a control group.

During the study, the researchers discovered that 44 per cent of women with breast cancer had hormonal birth control prescriptions, with about one-half for progestin-only.

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