No breastfeeding plus birth control pills may increase risk of breast cancer

Women who use birth control pills and have never breastfed are at as great of a risk of developing breast cancer as women with a family history, according to a new study published in the Indian Journal of Cancer.

It is already understood that a history of breast cancer in mothers, sisters and grandmothers increases the likelihood that a woman will develop breast cancer. Statistically, these women are nearly 300 percent more likely to develop the disease compared to women with no history of breast cancer.

The new study, conducted by R. Lodha and colleagues in LM Medical Collage and Research Centre in Bhopal, India, is based on data collected from central Indian women from October 2008 through August 2009. Researchers found that women who had a history of using oral contraceptives were 200 percent more likely to develop breast cancer compared to women who did not use birth control pills. They also found that women who never breastfed were 262 percent more likely to develop the disease.

“The findings of the present study suggests that positive family history of breast cancer and history of using (birth control pills) may be the epigenetic factors promoting the occurrence of breast cancer, while breast feeding reduces the possibility of acquiring breast cancer,” the researchers concluded.

The study contradicts other studies that suggest using birth control pills lowers women’s chances of developing cancer of the breast, ovaries or uterus.

A woman’s choice to use birth control pills – and which types of oral contraceptives – should be based on weighing the potential risks against the potential benefits. Using any type of birth control pill increases a woman’s risk for dangerous blood clots.

Newer studies show that a woman is at even greater risk with newer generation birth control pills that contain the hormone drospirenone. These pills include the top selling brands Yaz and Yasmin, as well as their generic equivalents.

Source: Food Consumer