What is the effect of oral contraceptives on breast cancer risk?

Updated: Dec 16, 2019
  • Author: Jessica Katz, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: Marie Catherine Lee, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Answer

One of the most widely studied risk factors in breast cancer is the use of exogenous hormones in the form of oral contraceptives (OCs) and hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

The overall evidence suggests a modestly increased risk in current users of oral contraceptives. Risk is increased 1.24 times for 10 years’ use. However, 10 years after discontinuation, this risk regresses to normal. [22] The progestin (synthetic progesterone)-only pill (“mini pill”) does not seem to be associated with an increased breast cancer risk, [23] and is commonly prescribed to women who experienced side effects from combination OCs or those with thrombotic risk, such as smokers or those with sickle cell disease.


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