Birth Control & Breast Cancer Have Been Linked In A New Study, But Don't Freak Out

Ad failed to load

When filling out forms at the doctor’s office and a question asks if you're currently on medication, do you remember to jot down the name of your hormonal birth control? Oftentimes, women don’t consider the pack of birth control pills in their clutch a traditional form of meds, but hormonal contraception is, indeed, a prescription, and with any medication comes possible side effects. Yes, birth control is meant to regulate your period and do the body good, but according to new research, there may be an increased risk factor in the link between some birth control pills and breast cancer.

The ongoing conversation surrounding whether or not women can develop breast cancer from taking hormonal birth control has died down and resurfaced numerous times over the years. In reality, the possibility has always been there, but as formulas improved, the risk factor was, supposedly, lower than it had been in years past. Unfortunately, however, a recent study published in the The New England Journal of Medicine has found that women using certain, modern birth control pills and IUDs might actually be at a higher risk.

A specific type of hormonal birth control could potentially be linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Ad failed to load

The New York Times reports that, even though research suggests women who use modern forms of hormonal contraception only face a small risk of developing breast cancer, the newly reported increase in percentage is still pretty significant, and something to be aware of.

The study assessed nearly two million Danish women in an effort to shed new light on the assumptions that modern birth control provides young women with less of a risk of developing breast cancer compared to the high-estrogen options that might have been prescribed to their mothers and grandmothers years ago. Despite lowering the dosage of estrogen in contemporary hormonal contraception like birth control pills and IUDs, however, the study found that for every 100,00 women using these medications, there are 68 cases of breast cancer diagnosed. So, like I said, the chances of developing breast cancer from hormonal birth control are still pretty slim, but these numbers are definitely something to think about when you consider what method of contraception you want to be using.

The thing is, even though the dosage of estrogen has been lowered in the modern hormonal birth control we use today, there's still a significant amount of the hormone progestin used to regulate a woman's menstrual cycle. This combination of hormones, according to the research, could be why we're seeing an increase in breast cancer risk.

Ad failed to load

If you're feeling concerned, there are some forms of birth control that don't release those hormones into the body.

Although the risk of developing breast cancer by using hormonal birth control is still relatively low, it’s important to do your research and talk to your doctor about the non-hormonal options available to you.

Ad failed to load

For example, did you know that there's such thing as a non-hormonal IUD? The sister device to the hormonal method is known as the ParaGard, and it's made with copper that's released into the uterus to combat sperm. According to Healthline, this form of birth control is 99 percent effective, and can last up to 10 years.

If you’re on the fence about IUDs and are looking for something a little less permanent, barrier methods are an excellent option. For instance, condoms are probably the most popular and readily available method on the market, so it's not a bad idea to buy a pack and keep one or two in your purse, just in case. Other barrier methods sans hormones, such as the contraceptive sponge, cervical cap, and a diaphragm, can all be inserted into your vagina prior to sex, and taken out afterward.

These forms of birth control are pretty effective when used correctly, but it's important to note that their sole purpose is to prevent pregnancy. Hormonal birth controls like the pill and hormonal IUD are also used to combat medical conditions, such as painful premenstrual symptoms and PCOS, so before taking it upon yourself to make the switch, a discussion needs to be had with your doctor to make sure the change would even be beneficial to your body.

Ad failed to load

If you're still feeling freaked out about all of this, the best way to put your mind at ease is to talk to your doctor about it.

Personally, I'm that patient who always comes into an appointment with a list of questions at the ready for my gynecologist. Remember, there is no such thing as stupid question, and with researchers coming up with all these new studies and test results, it's important to keep on top of things — especially when it has to do with your body and your health.

Ad failed to load

So, if you're feeling anxious about the connection between birth control and breast cancer, it may be worth checking in with your doctor to discuss these new findings and whether or not switching to a non-hormonal form of contraception is right for you. Again, the odds that you're at risk are pretty slim, but you're the only one who can decide what's best for your body.

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

3 Important Red Flags To Watch Out For When You're Dating Someone Older Than You

My first serious relationship was with someone almost ten years my senior. We got together during my first semester of college (after meeting through mutual friends) and I'd be lying if I said our breakup didn't have anything to do with our significa…
By Sydnee Lyons

These "Millennial Cruises" Will Make Your Next Friend Group Vacation So Lit

If you're a millennial right now, consider yourself lucky. If you're a millennial with the travel bug, consider yourself luckier. I know, you might be thinking, "But... money!" Trust me, I get it. Plane tickets and hotels can get expensive as you cou…
By Amanda Fama

5 Trends From The '90s Are Making A Serious Comeback, So Somebody Page Cher Horowitz

I was born in the '90s and my childhood was one Caboodles train case packed with scrunchies and butterfly clips after another. If you could believe it, early '90s fashion is already considered vintage (I officially feel old AF) and according to sprin…
By Stephanie Montes

5 Social Things You Can Do To Feel Less Lonely If You’re Single

Being single and being lonely don’t have to go hand-in-hand. Just because you don’t have a significant other, doesn’t mean you aren’t surrounded by wonderful people who love and care about you. But once in a while (especially if you’ve been single fo…
By Veronica Lopez

6 Subtle Red Flags That Could Mean You’re Sleeping Way Too Much

Have you ever woken up after an unusually long night of sleep and felt, well, kind of awful? Whether you roll out of bed feeling super dehydrated, nursing a throbbing a headache, or you simply feel stiff as a board, there are reasons why your body mi…
By Annakeara Stinson

These 6 Workouts Can Be Done Right On Your Couch, & Yes, They Do Count As Exercise

Ever have that feeling when you're watching the Olympics like you should be working out, or at least stretching, but in reality you're just laying around eating chips? Yeah, me neither. But if you do ever feel that pull to work out when you're just l…
By Annakeara Stinson

10 Things You Should Say To Your Partner Every Day To Keep The Love Alive

When it coms to love, falling into it is a lot easier than maintaining it. There’s a reason, after all, that it's called "falling" in love, because it's mostly out of your control — the heart just takes over. Because those emotions come so easily and…
By Rachel Shatto

Science Says These 8 Foods Can Help You Live Longer, So Eat Up

If you're looking to live forever, or at least for an appropriately long amount of time, then the best way to get started on your journey toward immortality is to think about what you're putting into your body for fuel. Think of your diet as the batt…
By Caroline Burke

I Live In London & When Guys Find Out I'm American, They Only See Me As A Fling

I first entered the world of dating apps during a semester abroad in London, and I had zero idea what I was getting myself into. I was 21, had only ever dated boys I'd met through work, school, or mutual friends, and my appreciation for romantic come…
By Genevieve Wheeler

Here's Exactly How You'll Fall In Love, Based On Your Astrological Sign

One of my favorite things about learning about my zodiac sign and others' is learning patterns about my behavior that I can acknowledge and use to my advantage. As a Scorpio sun sign, I know I'm typically described as mysterious, drawn to loyal peopl…
By Elana Rubin

These 8 Red Flags Might Mean You're Pushing Yourself Too Hard In Your Workouts

If you live by the motto "no pain, no gain," or you frequently exclaim that your HIIT circuits "hurt so good," you're probably the type of person who challenges yourself to the max during your workouts. And while this isn't necessarily a bad thing, i…
By Georgina Berbari

These "Awkward" Proposal Stories Show There's No One Perfect Way To Get Engaged

There are a few adjectives people use to describe proposal stories that tend to be a bit more common than the rest. You know what I mean. How many times have you heard someone describe their marriage proposal as "magical" or "romantic" or — my person…
By Candice Jalili

This $20 Toy Simulates Pimple Popping, So You Can Save Your Face (But Still Lose Your Dignity)

As a self-proclaimed popaholic, I am not ashamed to admit that I love watching pimple popping and blackhead extraction videos. Call me gross, but I find it immensely therapeutic and satisfying. To all of my fellow weirdos, we’ve been blessed with a n…
By Ariana Marsh

Meghan Markle Uses This $13 Natural Wonder To Grow Her Eyebrows Back & You Can Too

Meghan Markle is the world's new go-to celebrity for all things fashion and beauty — she's marrying a prince after all, so she must have some tricks up her sleeve. Meghan Markle's beauty routine is just as intricate as mine, because that's how real s…
By Alison Turka

7 Foolproof Things To Do Every Day If You're Tired Of Being Lazy AF

Being lazy can be oh-so-lovely. Until you start letting life pass you by, and not living to your full potential, then suddenly, it's not so good anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love my weekends when I can stay snuggled up in bed just a bit longer. Hit…
By Marisa Casciano

This Is How Long Most People Wait To Say "I Love You," Science Says

If I had to choose one word to describe saying "I love you" to your partner for the first time, I'd have to go with... hmm, exciting? Nope. Thrilling? Hardly. Terrifying? YES. Exactly. Saying "I love you" for the first time is terrifying. What makes …
By Candice Jalili

6 Reasons To Travel Abroad With Your Boyfriend Or Girlfriend In Your 20s

Traveling can be many things: hectic, expensive, and definitely stressful. But with the right people or person beside you, all those troubles kind of just melt away. That's why there are some solid reasons to travel abroad with your boyfriend or girl…
By Alani Vargas