Oral contraceptives linked to significantly increased risk of rare brain cancer
Brain cancer has been added to the list of risks for women taking birth control pills.
According to a new Danish study, women are 50% more likely to develop a certain type of brain tumor known as glioma, if they have taken oral contraceptives at any point in their lives, while women who used them for five years or longer are at twice the risk.
The study also found that women taking progestin-only contraceptives had a slightly higher risk of developing gliomas.
Despite the results, published January 22 in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Doctor David Gaist, the physician behind the study, says that they “shouldn’t yet be interpreted as a reason to stop taking birth control,” according to Time Magazine.
"An overall risk-benefit evaluation favors continued use of hormonal contraceptives," Gaist, a neurologist at Odense University Hospital and the University of Southern Denmark, also said.
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It was a tumor in the glioma group that afflicted Brittany Maynard, the woman whose tragic situation made headlines last fall when her plans to end her life were exploited by pro-euthanasia activists.
Although studies have pointed to myriad risks associated with chemical contraception, including blood clots and even death, their use remains pervasive in the U.S.
The CDC estimated in 2012 that 10.6 million U.S. women (more than a quarter of the 62% of women of child-bearing age using contraception) are taking chemical contraception.
The most commonly prescribed type of oral contraceptive in the U.S. is the man-made combination of the natural female hormones estrogen and progesterone, according to the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.
The Danish study focused on women between ages 15 and 49 years who had been diagnosed with glioma, looking at whether they were given chemical contraceptives and for what length of time.
Other medical professionals joined Gaist in cautioning against allowing the study numbers to influence women into going off of chemical birth control.
“It’s something women should be aware about, but I don’t think there is enough evidence to say don’t use it,” Doctor Santosh Kesari, director of neuro-oncology at the University of California San Diego and member of the American Academy of Neurology, said according to Time. Kesari said that rates of gliomas have not spiked since the launch of hormonal contraceptives.
While Duke University Professor of Obstetrics Doctor Evan Myers said the Danish study was well done, “he stressed that the study couldn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship between hormonal contraception use and risk for glioma,” according to CBS.
Countless studies over the years have indicated numerous risks to women who take oral contraceptives, including increased risk of cervical cancer, doubled risk of heart attacks, association with Atherosclerosis, blood clots, almost doubled stroke risk, loss of bone density, increased breast cancer risk, and prostate cancer and bladder disease.
In 2005 the WHO categorized combined estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives as Group 1 carcinogens, the highest category of carcinogenicity.
The combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives were also the most commonly prescribed forms of contraceptives worldwide at the time, meaning more than 100 million women, or about 10% of all women of reproductive age globally, were using them.
Nature and animals are not immune to the effects of these drugs, and chemical contraceptives have caused problems with water supplies, and been found to harm wildlife after being emitted into sewer systems via the urine of contracepting women.
“We have known for years that there are severe risks to women’s health from the birth control pill and similar products,” Jim Sedlak, vice-president of the American Life League told LifeSiteNews.
Sedlak pointed out two significant things about the new study.
“First, it ties the use of the pill to the brain tumor,” he said. “But, what may be more significant, problems with the pill have normally been attributed to the estrogen in the pill.”
“This study shows the harm done by progestin-only pills was actually greater in this case,” Sedlak told LifeSiteNews. “The conclusion is that there really are not any safe birth control pills.”