More Proof That Birth Control May Be Bad News for Breast Cancer

woman getting injectionI remember the first time a friend told me she was using the birth control injection, Depo-Provera. She lamented that no matter what she did to lose weight, she seemed to be gaining. And it gave her mood swings. But, hey, at least she wasn't overweight and moody from being preggers! (Though you would think with symptoms like that, you might as well be!) Well, now research has gone and found another lovely side effect of the birth control shot: A 50 percent higher risk of breast cancer.

Women who used the shot of synthetic hormones for at least a year had double the risk of getting breast cancer, according to the study published in the journal Cancer Research. Family history, obesity, age, and pregnancy history didn’t seem to make a difference. Creepy, no?

There is some silver lining: Users' risk dropped to that of non-users after several months of being injection-free. Plus, risk is low to begin with in younger women -- like those in their 30s (1 in 233, according to the National Cancer Institute) -- who tend to be the ones on Depo.

More from The Stir: 8 Birth Control Substitutes Just as 'Effective' as Aspirin Between Your Legs

But here's my Q ... Have they studied the long-term effects that do linger? There are plenty from certain types of birth control pills (vaginal dryness, gallstones, low libido), so I wouldn't put the same past the shot. Especially because the fake progesterone in the shot is the same used in the postmenopausal hormone therapy pill, Prempro, which was shown to boost women's risk of breast cancer by 24 percent.

That finding plus this new one just serve as further proof that women need to be very cautious about using any drug made with fake hormones. It's clear the body simply doesn't know what to make of them, and they are prone to throwing our super-individual, delicate lady hormone balance off. Even the maker of the drug, Pfizer, notes that women have to consider the "benefits and the risks" of their birth control. And if they're admitting it, you know it's true!

Does this study freak you out?


breasts, cancer, birth control


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nonmember avatar Mike M

There have been studies which show that women with high levels of estrogen and/or progesterone are more likely to suffer from breast cancer (which is also why it's rare for men to develop breast cancer - less estrogen and progesterone). As such it should be no surprise that the progestins used in birth control also cause an increase in the incidence of breast cancer - it has similar effects on the body to progesterone.

Aeris... AerisKate

This is why I have never gone back on birth control after stopping in 2006. 

nonmember avatar r0sal1n3

Until someone creates a "birth control" pill or shot for men...I guess I'll just have to keep on taking my pills.

nonmember avatar Tempella Gurnsy

This troubles me. We used to give them routinely to autistic & retarded teenage girls in group home I used to work in so they wouldn't get their period & we wouldn't have to deal w/ their mess. It saddens me we were increasing their breast cancer risk for our convenience.

Lisa Shafer Amrine

This might explain my breast cancer, and I only took 2 shots.

nonmember avatar LoriWHNP

Pregnancy is more likely to kill you than the right contraception is. That said, this "new finding" simply highlights the importance of each woman choosing the right contraception for HER with the assistance of her healthcare provider.

libby261 libby261

 What is wrong with the cervical cap or diaphragm as birth control???  No synthetic hormones, no increased cancer risk!!

nonmember avatar Shoshanna

Since birth control pills contain the same artificial hormones, they carry the same risk. Why are women not told this? I took BC pills for a long time, and had breast cancer at age 49. Still, none of my doctors ever mentioned BC pills as a possible cause.

nonmember avatar kline

anyone who is interested in going off birth control try natural family planning. There are no hormones and if done the right way is just as effective as artificial birth control. The man in your life if he knows what artifical birth control can do to you and he really loves you would never want you to be on something that can cause such problems even death! Natural Family planning is a great way to space births and not have to worry about cancer or loss of fertility. Check out the statistics - better health, unconditional love from your spouse, better communication, divorce rate is very low with couples that parctice natural family planning. Try it.

Rumsita Rumsita

One of many reasons I never plan to go back on hormonal birth control.  Once this babe is born healthy we plan on utilizing permanent birth control for my husband.  No reason to pump me full of crap when there's a healthier alternative available.

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