Hormonal Birth Control Methods Still Raise Breast Cancer Risk A Bit : Shots

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Katherine Streeter for NPR

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Katherine Streeter for NPR

It’s long been known that hormonal contraception, like any medicine, carries some risks. But doctors and women have hoped that the newer generations of low-dose contraceptive pills, IUDs and implants eliminated the breast cancer risk of earlier, higher-dose formulations.

Now a big study from Denmark suggests the elevated risk of getting breast cancer — while still very small for women in their teens, 20s and 30s – holds true for these low-dose methods, too.

In the research published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, a team of scientists studied 1.8 million women between the ages of 15 and 49. They were looking to see what happened over a stretch of nearly 11 years among women who used hormonal birth control — usually a combination of estrogen and progestin — versus women who relied on non-hormonal contraceptive methods, such as a condom, diaphragm or copper IUD.

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