Birth control pills increase risk of breast cancer

Melbourne: Birth control pills could put women at an increased risk of breast and cervical cancer, a new study has claimed.

The finding on injectable and oral contraceptives were done by a expert team led by Margaret Urban at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) in Johannesburg and Emily Banks of Australian National University (ANU), according to ANU statement released recently.

Banks said the study builds on previous findings that women using oral contraceptives had temporary increased cancer risks.

"We have also shown for the first time that injectable hormonal contraception use independently increases the risk of developing these cancers to a similar extent as oral contraceptives, and that these risks wear off over time," she said.

The study showed those who had recently used the injectable or oral contraceptive pill were about 1.7 times more likely to develop breast cancer and 1.4 times more likely to develop cervical cancer than women who had never used them.

This risk disappeared a few years after the women stopped taking the medication.

Johannesburg`s National Health Laboratory Service Margaret Urban said "The temporary increase in the risk of breast and cervical cancer and the long term protection against ovarian and endometrial cancers need to be considered alongside the highly effective contraception that these medications provide."

It was also found that there were protective benefits with a decreased risk of ovarian cancer and cancer of the lining of the womb.

The study was published in PLoS Medicine.