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What to Know if You're on the Pill
Another—very slight—risk for developing breast cancer is the pill. While the data are conflicting, the most recent research indicates that there is a slight link between prolonged oral contraceptive use and the risk of breast cancer. According to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, breast cancer risk among women who use progesterone/estrogen birth control for 10 years or more is estimated at one extra case per year per 100,000 women. The risk dissipates with time since last use.
Dr. Partridge wants women to weigh this risk against the risk of an unwanted pregnancy. "Most health professionals believe taking oral contraceptives is not a substantial risk for developing breast cancer," she says. "In fact, the risk of an unwanted pregnancy can be greater, so I advise people to weigh the pros and cons and consider their own family history before making a decision."