Oral contraceptive pill may be associated with breast cancer risk says study

In collaboration with the Press Association

A US review of past research has confirmed that the oral contraceptive pill is associated with a slight increased risk of breast cancer among some women.

The finding echoes most previous research, but lead author Dr Chris Kahlenbom said that he revisited the research due to a lack of public awareness of the issues.

The risk is largest among pre-menopausal women who have not had children, who would normally be at a lower risk of the disease, he added.

Hazel Nunn, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK said "This study reinforces what we already know.

"The pill does slightly increase breast cancer risk but also decreases the risk of cancers of the ovary and lining of the womb so there are both benefits and risks.

"Once women stop taking the pill, their breast cancer risk gradually returns to normal.

"But it is important for all women to be breast aware, whether or not they are taking oral contraceptives, by making sure they know what's normal for them and checking for changes in the size, shape or feel of their breasts.

"Women over 50 should also go for regular breast screening."

The study is published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.