Tuesday, March 06, 2012

"Abortion, Birth Control Pills Raise Breast Cancer Risk"

I guess it’s because of all the talk going on in our country about contraception, but lately I have been bombarded with information that links birth control with cancer. A friend of mine sent me this:

Here are some sites I found on Birth Control and cancer...interesting they are finding a link between birth control and prostate cancer...

www.sciencedaily/birthcontrol, www.hearthealthywomen.org/risk/birthcontrol,
www.nationalcancerinstitute/riskoforalcontraceptives,  www.webmed.com/birthcontrol-lupus,
http://www.healthland.time.com/ linkbetween birthcontroland prostate cancer

I had heard of the increased risk between the birth control pill and breast cancer before, but didn’t know about the link between the pill and prostate cancer or lupus. Why do we not hear about these connections? With all of the trillions of warnings of health risks on every possible medication and with how frequently birth control pills are prescribed, why do we NEVER hear of the health risks of the birth control pill?

Below are two sources that make the link between birth control and breast cancer. The truth needs to get out there so that people can make the right choices about their lives, their families, and which movements to follow. The first is an online article,  "Abortion, Birth Control Pills Raise Breast Cancer Risk", I found on the link between birth control and breast cancer from about.com. The second is a video by Fr. John Hollowell; the youth to whom he ministers are devouring his pamphlets on the truth about the birth control pill.  I hope to find some pamphlets for GW Catholics so that you can know the truth in clear terms, too.

In 2003, the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) sought to reassure women that using birth control pills would not raise their risk for breast cancer. NCI also told women that having an abortion was not a risk factor for breast cancer. Now it turns out that a study published in April 2009 by Jessica Dolle and other researchers of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center appears to show just the opposite: oral contraception (OCs) is linked with an increased risk for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) in women who are 45 years old and younger. The research paper, "Risk factors for triple-negative breast cancer in women under the age of 45 years," was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. This research paper features a table of risk factors, which includes oral contraception use, tobacco and alcohol consumption, number of births, breastfeeding, and induced abortion.

Dolle's research shows that if you started taking birth control pills before age 18, your risk for TNBC is increased by 3.7 times. If you've been using The Pill within the last one to five years, your TBNC risk is raised 4.2 times. Triple-negative breast cancer is aggressive and strikes women who are under 40, and many victims are African Americans. Survival odds for TBNC are lower than average, compared to other types of breast cancer.

As if that news were not alarming enough, a statement in this paper refers to induced abortion as a factor that is associated with an increased breast cancer risk. One of the study co-authors, Louise Brinton, spearheaded the 2003 NCI workshop about the abortion-breast cancer link (referred to as ABC). That workshop made every effort to assure women that having an induced abortion was not linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, and that research did not support an ABC link. Keep in mind that this paper discusses only one study.

Before I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2002, I took birth control pills for about 5 years. They prevented conception, made me a little queasy, but seemed otherwise harmless. In those days, the hormones in The Pill were lower than contraceptives that were produced in the 1980's, so I thought they were safe. After all, a doctor prescribed them for me - so no health risk, right? Maybe they were wrong! As soon as my breast lump was detected on a mammogram, when I was 46 years old, I was told to stop taking The Pill. That was one year before NCI told us that The Pill would not raise my risk for breast cancer. Now, I wish I'd never taken it. Perhaps one's risk is not as simple as taking The Pill, or eating a healthy diet, or having a genetic mutation - but if my risk is lower now because of being off contraceptives and never having had an abortion, I'm glad there's something I can do. I just wish we could have as much information as possible, to reduce our risk of breast cancer.

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