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Gynecology

Birth control pills - risks vs. benefits

09/18/2008

Question:

Hi. My friend is a 31 yr old female (lesbian) and obviously has never been on birth control pills. Her mother (age 55) was just diagnosed with breast cancer. I know that there is not a strong link between breast cancer and taking birth control - but one of the huge benefits of being on the pill - is reducing risk of ovarian cancer later on in life. Is that benefit alone worth her going on a low dose for a year? We would love any thoughts...

Answer:

The risk of breast cancer while taking OCPs is outweighed by the benefit in ovarian cancer reduction. I wouldn't consider taking oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) just for the reduction in ovarian cancer risk unless someone is know to be at high risk like being positive for the breast/ovarian/colon cancer mutation BRCA.

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Response by:

Thomas  A deHoop, MD Thomas A deHoop, MD
Formerly Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director, Medical Student Education
No longer associated