Ask Dr. Johnson Topic of the Week: Breast Cancer and Birth Control

A friend of mine from high school had a very interesting concern that I think will help everyone. She has a significant family history of Breast Cancer, and wants to know which birth control options would be best to reduce her risk of developing Breast CA.

Breast cancer is a devastating disease that is affecting the lives of millions of women (as well as men) all over the world. I addressed Breast Cancer a few months back in a previous topic, so please read it if you have not done so already.
In the blog that focused on Breast Cancer, I highlighted the importance of genetic testing for any family with significant history of the disease. Awareness is not only the key to prevention, but early detection as well.

Data suggests that women with a family history of breast cancer, in which no BRCA mutation is identified, remain at a significantly increased risk of breast cancer. However, there is no significant increase risk of breast cancer development with the use of hormonal birth control. The use of low-dose Birth control pills does not increase the risk of breast cancer in carriers of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations (known breast cancer genes). A history of benign breast disease or a positive family history of breast cancer (including BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations) should not be regarded as contraindications to oral contraceptive use (all women that have never personally had breast cancer, can use hormonal birth control with no increased risk of developing breast Cancer).

So even with a significant family history of breast cancer, a woman can utilize the birth control of her choice. Remember there are age and health restrictions for certain forms of birth control, please refer back to my blog about the different types of birth control. For women that have a personal history of Breast Cancer, hormonal contraception is contraindicated (Cant take it). Non-hormonal options include Paragard IUD (Copper 10 year device), also barrier protection (condoms).

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