New research has shown that all forms of hormonal contraception can increase the risk of breast cancer by up to 38%. This risk remains for about five years after the woman has stopped taking contraception.
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It’s been known for a while that hormonal contraception—pills, injections, and intrauterine devices (IUDs)—may carry a breast cancer risk. There were hopes that perhaps newer forms of these hormonal contraceptives, like the ones that only use progesterone, would not carry the same risks. However, according to a new study, the longer that women use hormonal contraceptives—even the new ones—the higher the risk of cancer. The risks are also higher the older the woman is, and lower if a woman has never used hormonal contraception.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the risks outweigh the benefits of pills, injections, and IUDs. Not only can these contraceptives prevent unwanted pregnancies, but they can also lower the risks of cancers such as ovarian, endometrial, and colorectal cancer.
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