How does the use of oral contraceptives at an early age affect a women's risk of breast cancer?

Updated: Dec 26, 2019
  • Author: Graham A Colditz, MD, DrPH; Chief Editor: Chandandeep Nagi, MD  more...
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Answer

Because any influence of oral contraceptives on the breast has been hypothesized to be greatest prior to the cellular differentiation that occurs with a full-term pregnancy, a number of investigators have evaluated the effect of oral contraceptive use prior to a first full-term pregnancy. In several more recent studies not included in these meta-analyses, no increase in risk was observed. [39] In the pooled analysis, [38] a significant trend of increasing risk with first use before age 20 years was observed. Among women diagnosed at age 30-34 years, the RR associated with recent oral contraceptive use was 1.54 if use began before age 20 years and 1.13 if use began at age 20 years or older.


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