If you’re like us, you’re very careful about what goes into your body. Our health is so much more than sleeping well, exercising, and eating well. While exercising can keep us feeling fit even when we get old, there’s so much more to overall health. When it comes to medications, for example, many of us will take more than we need for longer than we should, or we disregard the instructions on the label. This can lead to unintended consequences. If you’re specifically worried about breast cancer, then there’s one thing you may want to look into more.
According to studies published in the last few years, the hormones that come as part of hormonal birth control may increase your risk of getting breast cancer.
What’s the risk?
An risk of developing breast cancer was found among users of hormonal birth control pills, contraceptive patches, and vaginal rings. The increased risk was also found in women who used progestin-only implants and hormonal IUDs.
The products, which used different types of hormones, were all linked to increased risk. Yes, study authors found that all hormonal methods — including progestin, whether used alone or in combination — raised breast cancer risk.
The study followed women in Denmark for around ten years of their lives and have data that show that using hormonal birth control may lead to an extra 13 instances of cancer among every 100,000 women who used some kind of hormonal contraception for a year. This may not seem like a large increase, but if you’re a careful person, it may spur you to make some changes.
What are the alternatives?
Thankfully, there are methods of birth control that do not contain hormones. Though the risk is very, very small, it might be worth asking your doctor whether you should switch to a nonhormonal option, such as a barrier method or the copper IUD, which don’t have hormones.