In response to research published in PLOS Medicine looking at breast cancer risk and combined and progestogen-only contraceptives, Dr Kotryna Temcinaite, head of research communications at Breast Cancer Now, said:
“This research suggests there is a small increased risk of developing breast cancer for women while they are using, or soon after stopping, a newer progestogen-only contraceptive. The level of risk is around the same as for the older combined pill containing oestrogen and progestogen, which we’ve known about for some time. For both types of contraceptives, if you stop using them, this added risk of breast cancer reduces over time.
“The study didn’t look at what hormonal contraceptives the women may have used in the past or consider how long they may have been on the progestogen-only contraception. It also didn’t factor in whether a family history of the disease contributed to their level of risk. So further work is needed to help us fully understand the impact of using this type of contraception.
“Breast cancer is rare in young women. A slight increase in risk during the time a woman uses a hormonal contraceptive means only a small number of extra cases of the disease are diagnosed. If you’re worried about breast cancer and contraception, or are unsure of what type you’re using, talk to your doctor or family planning clinic. You can also speak to our expert nurses by calling our free helpline on 0808 800 6000.”