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Are there links between breast cancer risk and hormonal contraceptives?

Reminder to all women, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is especially important to do your breast self-examinations every cycle to check for a painless lump. The best time to check is right after the menstrual bleed when ovarian hormones are at their lowest levels.

If you find a lump, this does not mean you have breast cancer, but you do need to see your doctor.

A 2021 Ministry of Health poster noted that one in nine women in their lifetime will develop breast cancer. Some factors that increase the risk include family history of breast cancer, previous breast biopsy for benign disease, increased breast density, alcohol use, post-menopausal women who are overweight, current oral contraceptive use, previous diagnosis of breast cancer, women who were never pregnant, other cancers in the family (colon, uterine, ovarian, prostate).

Factors that reduce the risk include age of giving first birth less than 30 years, breastfeeding and having more than three children.

The use of hormonal contraceptives and the increased risk of breast cancer has been confusing over the years.

One study would report increased risk and another no increased risk.

The developers of Depo-Provera, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, notes under ‘Warnings and Precautions’ that there is a significantly increased risk of breast cancer for overall users in two of five large studies conducted.

Studies on the intra-uterine device (IUD) Mirena had “produced conflicting results” when it came to increased risk of breast cancers, but noted lowered risk of other cancers.

In her book This is Your Brain on Birth Control, Dr Sarah Hill noted that sex hormones impact the activities of billions of cells in the body at once, many of which are in the brain. There, they play a role in influencing attraction, sexual motivation, stress, hunger, eating patterns, emotion regulation, friendships, aggression, mood, learning, and more.

“This means that being on the birth control pill makes women a different version of themselves than when they are off the pill. This is a big deal. Women on the pill have a dampened cortisol spike in response to stress. While this might sound great (no stress!), it can have negative implications for learning, memory, and mood.

The pill may influence who women are attracted to, being on the pill may inadvertently influence who women choose as partners, which can have important implications for their relationships once they go off it.”

Here are some benefits of the Billings Ovulation Method®: The Billings Ovulation Method® is easy-to-learn and an effective method to avoid or achieve pregnancy. There are no devices or drugs to use, so it is safe, healthy (‘organic’), has no side effects on the brain, and inexpensive.

The Billings Ovulation Method® is immediately “reversible”—a couple can change their family planning goals whenever they wish.

Research shows that couples who switch to a natural method of family planning improve their relationships and feel more respected by their partner and more in control of their fertility.

The Billings Ovulation Method® can be used throughout the couple’s reproductive years. At the initial instruction on the Method, the woman or couple is reminded about the breast self-examination to support breast cancer awareness.


Contact BOMA-TT: 384-1659