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:
THE PILL WILL INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF CANCER BY 233%
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.