Past or present use of birth control pills does not increase the risk of breast cancer for women, according to a major new study released yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine. This is true for women of all ethnicities, women who took the pill as teenagers or adults, women who took pills that were high or low in estrogen and even women who had a family history of breast cancer.
For the study, researchers interviewed more than 9,200 women between the ages 35 and 64 in Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Seattle – approximately half who had breast cancer and half who had not been diagnosed with the disease. “We do believe this study is very good news,” Polly A. Marchbanks, an epidemiologist with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, who led the research, told the Washington Post. “This is an especially important issue because of the serious nature of breast cancer and the high prevalence of oral contraceptive use.” Approximately 45 million American women have taken the pill at some point – only sterilization is used more often as a birth control method in the US, according to USA Today.