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Study: the Pill Protects Against Cancer (or so we’d like you to believe)

by Dr. Stephen Gangemi on January 5, 2008

The news is out again with a recent study published by The Lancet that has scientists cheering, “Women on the birth control pill are protected from ovarian cancer, even decades after they stop taking it.” This is not new information. My April 2005 newsletter discusses the dangers associated when a woman believes this headline.

The recent study says that for every 500 women who take The Birth Control Pill (BCP) for 10 years, there is a 0.4% decrease in ovarian cancer (2 women) and a 0.2% decrease in death from the cancer (1 woman). This resulted in 8 women per 1000 who were taking the BCP and 12 who were not. Well that sounds like good news until you consider the fact that taking birth control pills, especially for 10 years, increases a woman’s chance of getting breast, cervical, and even liver cancer – much more than this slight decrease in ovarian cancer.

There is plenty of research to back this statement, and many even published by The Lancet. In their 2003 “Million Woman Study” they concluded that there are an additional 19 breast cancers per 1000 women aged 50-64 taking oral contraceptives for 10 years. And there are many findings, even in The Lancet, which show that taking BCPs will increase a woman’s chance of developing cervical cancer four-fold over those who don’t take BCPs. There is a risk with liver cancer too as well as many other complications; but really, how much more convincing does a person need?

Just two months ago, November 2007, The Lancet published a study which states, “10 years’ use of oral contraceptives from around age 20 to 30 years is estimated to increase the cumulative incidence of invasive cervical cancer by age 50 from 7.3 to 8.3 per 1000.” So there’s our extra one woman with cervical cancer to put with the 19 extra with breast cancer to get 20 more breast and cervical cancers per 1000 women on birth control. Now add the 8 women on BCPs with ovarian cancer and you get 28 total compared to the 12 who did not take BCPs. Hmmm…maybe the headline this week on CNN should read:


This is astonishing just focusing on cancer. There are many other problems associated with The Pill and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – check out the Health tab above.

I'm a board certified chiropractic physician and clinical nutritionist with a passion for true natural health care. I implement dietary & nutritional therapies, exercise & movement practices, and lifestyle changes along with manual therapy techniques to help the body heal and prevent illness and injuries.


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  1. Amanda permalink

    Hey! Thank you so much for providing all of this information on your site. I’m a nursing student at UF and you’re making reconsider my career choice because of how interested I’ve become reading all of your articles!

    I’m almost positive I have some type of carb intolerance and questionably polycystic ovarian syndrome? I’ve ALWAYS gotten exhausted/fallen asleep after meals, weight gain in the past two years, gluten intolerance, irregular period, trouble sleeping, mood changes, etc. My doctor wants me to get on BCP because of my irregular period but I haven’t wanted to because of those reasons^^ you’ve provided and just because I don’t want to. A treatment for PCOS, however, is to regulate your hormones with BC. I’m doing the TWT starting today so maybe that will help with my symptoms/regulate my body more! Do you think I should take BC?? Thanks!!

    • Great to hear that, thanks. I can’t tell anyone to take or not take a med, The Pill included. The Pill does suppress your natural hormonal production and will never correct any problem, which I’m sure you know. And plenty of risk factors involved of course too.

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