Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Depo-Provera Birth Control Might Raise Breast Cancer Risk

Depo-Provera Birth Control Might Raise Breast Cancer Risk

04/04/12

WEDNESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- There appears to be a link between an injectable form of progestin-only birth control, best known as Depo-Provera, and an increased risk of breast cancer in young women, new research suggests.

For the study, researchers compared more than 1,000 Seattle-area women, aged 20 to 44, who were diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 900 women without breast cancer.

Recent use of the injectable contraceptive (formally called depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate or DMPA) for a year or longer was associated with a 2.2-fold increased risk of invasive breast cancer, the study found.

This increased risk appeared to fade within months after women stopped using the contraceptive, and women who used the contraceptive for less than a year or who had stopped using it more than a year earlier did not have any increased risk of breast cancer, according to the findings published online and in the April 15 print issue of the journal Cancer Research.

"Although breast cancer is rare among young women and the elevated risk of breast cancer associated with DMPA appears to dissipate after discontinuation of use, our findings emphasize the importance of identifying the potential risks associated with specific forms of contraceptives given the number of available alternatives," study leader Dr. Christopher Li, a breast cancer epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues wrote.

"In the United States, many women have numerous options for contraception, and so it is important to balance their risks and benefits when making contraceptive choices," Li noted in a news release from the research center.

While the study uncovered an association between Depo-Provera and raised breast cancer risk, it could not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Commenting on the study, Dr. Elizabeth Poynor, a gynecologic oncologist and pelvic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said, "This study further confirms that some types of progestins are not healthy for the breast. For women who are at elevated risk to develop breast cancer based on family history, or even age, this type of contraception may not be a good choice for them."

But another expert cautioned that the study did have its limits.

Dr. Freya Schnabel, director of breast surgery at NYU Clinical Cancer Center in New York City, noted that the women in the study who seemed at highest risk of developing breast cancer while on Depo-Provera were those with a family history of the disease or women who had never had children (another known risk factor).

Furthermore, she said, "the study did not include information about all breast cancer risk factors in the participants, and this is a real limitation of the analysis which could impact on the results. Also, the mechanism by which the progesterone would increase risk only in current users is not clear."

According to Schnabel, all of this means that "more detailed studies are needed to clarify the relationship between this contraceptive method and risk of breast cancer."

The research was funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program.

More information

Planned Parenthood has more about the birth control shot.

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse Hospital Appoints Chief Information Officer
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >