The Pill & Breast Cancer


August 10, 2012 by mattfradd

Does the birth control pill increase your risk of breast cancer?

According to the World Health Organization, the companies that make birth control pills, the FDA, and the Mayo Clinic, yes.

In a July 29th 2005 press release, the World Health Organization declared that combined estrogen-progestogen Oral Contraceptives are carcinogenic to humans. Specifically, they said that “Use of OC’s increases risk of breast, cervix, and liver cancer.”[1]The data was presented by a working group of 21 scientists from 8 countries convened by the cancer research agency of the WHO, the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Click here to view the press release.

Companies that make birth control pills also have admitted a link between the drug and breast cancer. For example, the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) is a 3500 page book used by doctors that explains how drugs work. In it is the “exact copy of the product’s FDA-approved or other manufacturer-supplied labeling.”

The PDR states that “a meta-analysis of 54 studies found a small increase in the frequency of having breast cancer diagnosed for women who were currently using combined oral contraceptives or had used them within the past ten years.”[2]

The “meta-analysis of 54 studies” mentioned included data from over 150,000 women.

It said, “The studies included in this collaboration represent about 90% of the epidemiological information on the topic, and what is known about the other studies suggests that their omission has not materially affected the main conclusions.”[3]

Some might argue that the increase in breast cancer risk is only a small one. But with 80-100 million women on the pill across the globe, the numbers certainly add up.

More recently, the journal of the Mayo Clinic (Mayo Clinic Proceedings) published an article entitled “Oral Contraceptive Use as a Risk Factor for Pre-menopausal Breast Cancer: A Meta-analysis.” It revealed that 21 of 23 studies that followed women who took the pill prior to having their first child showed an increased risk of breast cancer.[4]

The increase was especially steep among younger women. One of the authors, Chris Kahlenborn, M.D., stated, “Anyone who is prescribing oral contraceptives has a duty to tell women that 21 of 23 studies showed an increased risk.”[5]

He added, “As more information comes out, it’s going to be increasingly difficult to suppress [the documented evidence from medical studies]. There’s a growing sense that it’s really just a matter of time before the lid blows on this thing. . . . We will start seeing a new attitude towards the pill, and it will be fueled by lawsuits.”[6]

In the Consumer’s Guide to the Pill and Other Drugs it also states that “Early-age use of the pill carries a greater risk of breast cancer, of developing larger tumors and having a worse prognosis.”[7]

The Pill can cause plenty of other health problems as well, but click here for details on that.

If you are a woman who is prescribed the pill for medical reasons, you’ll be glad to know that successful alternatives exist. Click here for details on that.

Why does the Pill increase a woman’s odds of developing breast cancer? Chris Kahlenborn, M.D., explains: “Two of the most important types of hormones that control reproduction are estrogens and progestins. Birth Control Pills are made from synthetic estrogens and/or progestins. Experiments have shown that these hormones cause women’s breast cells to divide more rapidly, which makes them more easily affected by carcinogens – agents which cause cancer.”[8]

Interested in learning more? This article as well as others can be found on our site,

[1]. World Health Organization, “IARC Monographs Programme Finds Combined Estrogen-Progestogen Contraceptives and Menopausal Therapy are Carcinogenic to Humans,” International Agency for Research on Cancer, Press Release 167 (29 July 2005).
[2]. Physicians’ Desk Reference, (Montvale, N.J.: Thomson, 2006).
[3]. Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer, “Breast cancer and hormonal contraceptives: collaborative reanalysis of individual data on 53 297 women with breast cancer and 100 239 women without breast cancer from 54 epidemiological studies,” Lancet 347:9017 (22 June 1996):1713-1727.
[4]. Cf. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Oral Contraceptive Use as a Risk Factor for Premenopausal Breast Cancer: A Meta-analysis, Chris Kahlenborn, MD, et al., October 2006; 81(10): 1290-1302.
[5]. Susan Boyles, “The Pill May Raise Breast Cancer Risk: Analysis Suggests Small Increase in Risk When Oral Contraceptives Used Before First Pregnancy,” WebMD Health News (Oct. 31, 2006).
[6] Chris Kahlenborne, as quoted at
[7]. John B. Wilks, Pharm. M.P.S., A Consumer’s Guide to the Pill and Other Drugs, 2nd Edition, (Stafford, Virginia, ALL inc., 1997), p. 70.
[8]. Chris Kahlenborne, M.D., Breast Cancer Risk from the Pill, available at

6 thoughts on “The Pill & Breast Cancer

  1. Tracy says:

    I have an aunt who was on the pill and developed breast cancer. My sister was given the pill to “regulate” her periods to “help” her get pregnant.. within 6 months of being on it she developed several blood clots in her legs that could have killed her had she not discovered them when she did … to me the pill screams DANGEROUS!!

  2. Rachel says:

    And we wonder why cancer rates are on the rise. Its so sad. There are so many doctors who are only too happy to tell girls, ‘hey yes, you can take this for years and years and it will do you no harm.’ Funny thing is I’ve told these facts about the pill and cancer to a few girls and guess what, most of them – not all, but most – chose to stop taking the pill and feel much better for having doing that, physically and emotionally. One of them is even due to have a baby in December so I thank God for that. But how much more women would listen if it were doctors telling them these facts which they deserve to know. This knowlege needs to be more widespread and you’re doing an awesome thing in blogging it. Cheers for the info Matt. I learnt a few new things tonight.

  3. Mandy says:

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age, and I have always felt that it was because I used birth control pills. If I could go back in time and make a different choice, I would do it. I get a lot of negative reactions when I tell people my viewpoint. This is a great article that references the facts.

  4. Tanya says:

    I was told that I had to go on the pill to regulate the pain involved with my monthly cycles that would usually leave me passing out in pain each month. I was never told any of these risks, nor were they written with the information packages that come with the pills describing side effects.

    There was a belief that these pills were causing my chronic migranes and so I had to stop them and instead was giving a heavy pain killer to deal with the pain.

    After reading this, I don’t think I will ever go back to them. It’s not worth it.

  5. jasonbladd says:

    Malcom Gladwell makes a connection between cancer rates and increased ovulation (reative to pre-modern human history) in his book What the Dog Saw. You might also like my post titled “The Plan C Pill”

  6. bluesync19 says:

    “ of COCs and assess the balance
    of risks and benefits of COC use and they
    have determined that for most healthy
    women, the health benefits clearly exceed
    the health risks..”

    So while the WHO does point to a small increase in some cancers (cervix, breast,
    liver), it also shows it decreases risks of other cancers (endometrium,
    ovary) as shown in this source from the WHO.

    Healthy women are quite safe to take the pill.


    Each person should talk talk to their doctor about it.

    In the original press release from the WHO its says: “..When progestogens
    are taken fewer than 10 days per
    month, the risk of endometrial cancer
    is increased, but when progestogens
    are taken daily, the risk is similar to that in women who never used hormonal


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Don't miss a post - enter your email address below.

Join 3,133 other followers

New Book!

My new DVD: How to Win an Argument without Losing a Soul.

Free E-Book!


Blog Stats

  • 893,948 Visits
%d bloggers like this: