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Is there a link between birth control and breast cancer? The Doctors discuss the finding of a study which claims that all types of hormonal birth control may increase the risk. But should you be worried?
Breast cancer surgeon Dr. Kristi Funk says there have been over 55 studies that have looked at hormonal contraception and breast cancer risk and in this study from Denmark, which followed 1.8 million women for 10 years, had similar findings to previous studies. She explains that the Danish study and previous studies have found that taking birth control will increase your breast cancer risk by 20 percent on average. She says the studies have also found that taking birth control for 10 years or more increase the risk up to 38 percent.
Dr. Funk acknowledges that these numbers "sound huge," but notes that with 7700 women on hormonal contraception, that just 1 more person will get breast cancer per year. She also says that if you go off birth control that in just 10 years, you are back to a baseline risk for breast cancer. She goes on to explain that taking oral birth control has been shown to decrease a risk for colorectal cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer for some.
Dr. Funk also shares her three tips to possibly minimize your risk of breast cancer which include:
- Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, foods high in fiber and foods low in saturated fats
- Exercising for at least 2 and half hours per week for high-intensity workouts and at least 5 hours per week for moderate types of exercise
- Minimizing your alcohol intake and not consuming more than one drink per day