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How many of us took Birth Control Pills?

KorynH Member Posts: 84

This same question may be burried in the 2 thousand other posts but I haven't found it. I was diagnosed at age 44 and had been taking birth control pills for the previous 13 years. Once I was diagnosed my doctor said to stop the pill immediately....even mid cycle! I at that time had not had a period in  a year but was not testing post-menopausal according to bloodwork. Then when I decided for the first time to read the pamphlet that came in the pill pack it stated right there in black and white MAY CAUSE BREAST CANCER IN YOUNG WOMEN (pre -meno) WITH LONG TERM USE yet no doctor in 13 years ever warned me to stop it and I was there faithfully every year for my paps! I took Lo-Ovral.

I was furious! When I questioned my ob.gyn she said the pill doesn't cause breast cancer.  However, now that chemo has put me into early menopause and I seek help for the hot flashes she says, oh you can't take hormones they might cause breast cancer! I find that just crazy. So I am finding many other survivors who also took oral contraceptives for many years and later developed breast cancer. I would just be curious to see just how many on these forums were too and for how long you were on it.

The pill may not CAUSE breast cancer but what it does to our cycles, creating an estrogen dominance can cause breast cancer, so says the book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer.

Tell your story!



  • chelev
    chelev Member Posts: 417
    edited September 2009

    I was off an on birth control pills for at least 10 years, and then after my hyst. at age 28, I was put on various and assorted HRT therapies that did not work (I was overproducing estrogen like a fiend . . .geee, wonder why I got cancer???? - always had overabundance of estrogen).

  • LynnVA
    LynnVA Member Posts: 44
    edited September 2009

    I was on BC pills for almost 17 years. No doc ever told me this would up my already high risk stats. My mother was diagnosed at 30, I was diagnosed at 35.  I know she never took a BC pills.

  • DENRulzBC
    DENRulzBC Member Posts: 99
    edited September 2009

    KORYN - I took the pill for about 20 years except for pregnancy breaks and breast feeding.  I never knew that they could cause bc either, no doctor ever mentioned it to me.  Every year at my gyn exam they just gave me next years rx.  My breast surgeon also had me stop as soon as I was diagnosed.  We should talk about this at coffee tomorrow.  See you then :o)!!

     CHELEV - hi there!

    HUGS, Dawn

  • pj12
    pj12 Member Posts: 18,108
    edited September 2009

    I took Birth Control pills  for ten years between ages 21 and 31.  Then took Premarin for 10 years between ages 45 and 55 (post hysterectomy).  

    I think one or the other has been a part of almost all of our lives.  Hard to know which to blame.


  • nash
    nash Member Posts: 146
    edited September 2009

    I took the pill (with breaks for 2 babies) from age 21 to age 38, when I was diagnosed with bc. Also told to stop taking it immediately upon diagnosis. But my tumor was only moderately ER/PR positive, and I have a very strong family history of cancer (dad died of pancreatic, mom died of bc, among others), so I probably would have ended up with cancer anyhow. I did have one onc tell me that the pills caused my bc, but I don't know how she'd know that for sure. They probably didn't help the situation, though.

  • cakeisgreat
    cakeisgreat Member Posts: 188
    edited September 2009

    I never took the pill and still got BC unfortunately.  Totally Est positive.  I'm only 37 yrs old.  I think we are genetically dispositioned to get bc or other cancer, but then the "environmental" stuff may hurry it along a bit.  :)

  • Enjoyful
    Enjoyful Member Posts: 278
    edited September 2009

    I wondered that myself but never read the pamphlet.  I was on birth control pills from age 19 to 33, then intermittenly to address some cycle issues.  There's a lot of press on hormonal therapy for menopause and how it's linked to breast cancer, but none on birth control pills.  Why would one increase risk but not the other? 

  • Kleenex
    Kleenex Member Posts: 310
    edited September 2009

    I think I started a thread about this last summer, as this is one of my favorite theories. I saw three different gynecologists in three states, and all of them promoted a theory that I could "skip" menopause by continuing to take BCP's, which I took for at least 20 years (with time off to attempt to conceive, to be pregnant, and to nurse from about age 17 - last summer). The plan was to keep me on them until about 51 years of age, and then see if we missed it. (I was 45 at diagnosis.) Interesting how they allegedly do not cause breast cancer, but hormone replacement therapy does. And you can not take them if you develop breast cancer. Perhaps the theory is that some of our bodies handle estrogen irresponsibly... And of course, now I'm enjoying menopause symptoms by the hour. Yay.

  • caaclark
    caaclark Member Posts: 19
    edited September 2009

    I took the pill from age 18-25.  Then had children (3 pregnancies in 4 years) and post kids used the patch.  My twin sister was on the pill from around age 18 until I was diagnosed, which was when I was 40.  No cancer for her and she has way more risk factors.

    I have often wondered if it was the Patch that threw me over. 

  • Kleenex
    Kleenex Member Posts: 310
    edited September 2009

    I bumped my earlier thread on this - it's in the ILC forum.

  • JewelTXakaLinda
    JewelTXakaLinda Member Posts: 27
    edited September 2009

    I took Birth Control pills up to the day of diagnosis.  I had been on The Pill since I was 30 until age 51.   I was ER and PR positive.  Wonder sometimes if The Pill had any influence on me getting breast cancer.  I have never been pregnant.  I had Ovarian cancer in my family, and was told by an OB/GYN that I should stay on The Pill until I was 70, to help prevent ovarian cancer.  Oh well... prevent cancer and get another.

  • MarieK
    MarieK Member Posts: 467
    edited September 2009

    I have taken birth control on and off since I was 16 (now 47).  A couple of years ago (while not on the pill) my GP prescribed it for me again when I was having problems with heavy bleeding and short cycles.

    Last year when I asked her about menopause and the pill she told me to take it every day if I wanted to not have a period and also advised that if I missed one I could "double up".  At the time I didn't think anything of it other than not getting a period on vacation again. 

    I didn't realize that the added bonus was that a 5.8 cm sized ER + tumour would grow during that time!

  • socallisa
    socallisa Member Posts: 10,176
    edited September 2009

    I used birth control pills for two years..1967-68

    dx ed with IBC 2000

  • HelenaJ
    HelenaJ Member Posts: 304
    edited September 2009

    I took the pill since I was 18 because of my erratic and horrendous periods (I am 47) then took a couple of years off when I had my two children (when I was 37 & 39) and breast fed, then went back on it till I was 45 when I decided to go drug free.   When I stopped taking the pill my periods and emotions went crazy and I thought I was perimenopausal.  Then I got breast cancer.  I am almost 100% ER & PR+ and I have a gut feeling that the pill kept my hormone levels balanced while I was on it.  My younger sister was also on the pill, stopped taking it when she wanted to fall pregnant then went back on it.  She got bc when she was 35 and to this day (10 years later) she is totally convinced it was because of the pill.

    For the almost 15 years I was on the pill I had a quality of life I wouldn't have had if I didn't take it.  I never in all that time thought twice about side fx or bc consequences, even when my younger sister was diagnosed.

    Who knows.....

  • Curlylocks
    Curlylocks Member Posts: 61
    edited September 2009

    I took the pill from age 19 to age 33.  My tumour was 4 cm and my surgeon said it had been there at least 6-8 years.  I was diagnosed at age 41.

     The first question my surgeon asked me is if I had taken the birth control pill.  So yes I believe there is a link.  I never had a concern about getting bc, actually never thought of reading the package insert when I was 19!

    One of those things that makes you go hmmmmm.....


  • Dejaboo
    Dejaboo Member Posts: 761
    edited September 2009

    I was on the pill for about 13 years...But 4 years during that 13 I wasnt.

    I stopped the pill at about age 35- Had a Mini stroke.

    While it may lead to some breast cancers.

    When you think of how many women really do take the pill. Its probably the most popular form of birth control.

    If there was a strong connection I  think there would be alot more BC then there is.

    just my Opinion


  • ghety
    ghety Member Posts: 107
    edited September 2009

    I took the pill for 25 years (excluding 2 pregnancies) had an ER+cancer, was told to stop immediately. I couldn't help but be angry and wonder if it caused my cancer! Was never told of any risks.

  • revkat
    revkat Member Posts: 122
    edited September 2009

    Never on the pill or any other kind of hormonal treatment. Still got premenopausal estrogen positive bc. Don't have any of the known risk factors -- didn't start menstruating until 14, not overweight, no alcohol, physically active, 3 kids -- the first 2 before 30, breastfed for 7 years total, no cancer of any kind in my whole extended family for at least 3 generations. . . what else? Oh wait, I'm tall. Thats the  only one.

  • kpopperwell
    kpopperwell Member Posts: 8
    edited September 2009

    I took the pill from age 29 - 39 then had a hysterectomy (they left one ovary).  Then I took HRT from about age 50 - 55 until I heard there might be a link to breast cancer.  Since my mom had bc I decided I wanted off the HRT.  My dr agreed and I weaned off.  Then at 61 I was diagnosed with bc.  Don't know for sure if it was the BCP, HRT or family history.

  • EvaPerone
    EvaPerone Member Posts: 14
    edited September 2009

    I was on the pill from 15 to diagnosis at age 45, with a few breaks but drs assured me the dosages were now so low that I had nothing to fear from staying on it for years!

  • ArmyWife3207
    ArmyWife3207 Member Posts: 1
    edited September 2009

    KorynH, your post gave me a chill.  I am 38 and premenopausal, was diagnosed 11/6/08 with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in my left breast.  Up until then, I had always been a healthy, physically fit female.  The only breast cancer history in my family is on my father's side; his mother had it, though not until she was in her 70s, and her mother had it when she was in her 50s though both of them died of other causes.  Neither my mother nor my one and only full sister tested positive for either breast cancer gene (I haven't gotten tested yet). 

    I too was on LoOvral for 13 years.  I started when I was 24 because I had an ovarian cyst and dysmennorhea.  As soon as I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, my surgeon told me to stop taking it permanently because my tumor was ER positive.  If I'd known 13 years ago what I know now, I would have stayed on it long enough to get rid of the cyst and then quit it.   

  • mumito
    mumito Member Posts: 2,007
    edited September 2009

    I took the pill for about 10 years.and my onc said they are quite sure that this is why there is such an increase in BC I tried to talk my DD into trying another method of birthcontrol but the pill is too dam convienent.

  • Janet22664
    Janet22664 Member Posts: 18
    edited September 2009

    A very interesting discussion you all have going on here.  I took birth control pills from age 19 - about 40.  I have no bc history in my family.  Something I noticed that I found interesting as I read through your postings is that statistically we would be considered "young" for breast cancer, as the average age to get a breast cancer diagnosis is 61.  Combine that with the fact that we are probably the first generation to use birth control pills for any length of time, I definitely feel there may be a connection.  Even if it's just a suspicion at this time, I think I'll tell my 19 year old daughter to look into another means of controlling her mild acne.


  • hollyann
    hollyann Member Posts: 279
    edited September 2009

    I took took birth control pills from age 23 to 26 off and on and then i tried to take them after my daughter was born when I was 27 but I could not tolerate the SE's from them so dh had a vasectomy....I truly believe the pills plus all th ehormones they started putting in meat caused my bc......That and the fact that I was high risk to boot.....I must say though that until 3 years ago I never knew my mother and possibly my grandmother had had bc...I knew my mother had died of cancer but I thought it was cancer in her stomach not breast......Of course back then in 1972 we didn't say breasts, pregnant or ovaries or anything relating to the female body......Everything was spoken in whispers about cancer and so for the children of that time we were totally in the dark about what happened to "Aunt Jill" or "Grandma Rose" or even our own mothers......I am so glad we are more open and talk more about bc and ov ca.......I believe many more lives will be saved because of it...In the meantime I continue to pray that we find the cause so we can find the cure.......

  • AnnaM
    AnnaM Member Posts: 136
    edited September 2009

    I took birth control pills for eight years, stopped for 10, then took them for 14 years till diagnosis four years ago.

    I absolutely believe that manipulating my hormones played a part in my breast cancer.

  • mrsb45
    mrsb45 Member Posts: 13
    edited September 2009

    I was glad to see this thread because I also took the pill 20 years with time off for 2 pregnancies and breast feeding and told my dh that this was the only risk factor that I could come up with. No one ever told me any risk of breast cancer either when taking the pill. I am now 52 having chemo after a local recurrance from last year @ this time. No risk factors: had childen in 20's, breast fed, late onset periods, exercised/ jogged last 20 yrs, normal weight, no family hx, eat lots of fruits/ veggies and menopause @ 51. Tried to do everything right to prevent heart disease (cardiac nurse) and end up with breast cancer. I guess you can only make decisions on the information you have @ that time. I definitely agree though that this disease is fed by hormones and too many woman are getting diagnosed younger and younger and that BC pills are a definite link to this........

  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,879
    edited September 2009

    Used birth control pills (Demulen, Ortho Novum) for about 10 years.  I had a fibroadenoma during those years.  While it is "unknown" what causes fibroadenoma, estrogen is thought to tie in somehow because fibroadenomas are much more common among pre-menopausal aged women.

    Haven't taken The Pill now for about 20 years.  Had one more B9 tumor (hyperplasia) and now IDC.  It is hard to draw a strong conclusion that birth control pills CAUSE breast cancer, although it could be ONE of the contributing factors in SOME people.   (Not everybody who got a bad sunburn at age 16 is goning to get melanoma forty years later, but some do, and the early exposure/damage is said to be tied in.)   Just seems likely that something similar happens in the case of pills & patches.

  • Diana_B
    Diana_B Member Posts: 4
    edited September 2009

    I was diagnosed at 40 and had taken the pill since I was 25.

    At my first meeting with the surgeon, she came right out and said that was the reason for my cancer and that I should stop taking the pill immediately.

    Why isn't this talked about more? I'm very angry and feel it's being covered up.

    I heard a story about a young woman who for some reason had gone into menopause in her 20s. Instead of giving her HRT, her doctor gave her the pill, so that she could feel like her peers. If the pill can be a substitute for HRT, how is it that it's safe while HRT is not?

    Samuel Epstein has been saying this stuff for years:

    He called the pill

    “the largest unregulated human trial that’s ever been conducted”

    I remember being told that the pill "slightly" ups our risk for bc but lowers our risk for uterine cancer -  but bc is much more prevalent and likely, so is that really a reasonable tradeoff?


  • jpann39
    jpann39 Member Posts: 92
    edited September 2009

    I took the pill when I was younger and then in my late 30's early 40's I was on the depo-vera shot.

    I was due for my shot when I found my surgeon was over the edge about NOT taking that next shot or using ANY kind of birth control after being dx'd with IDC at 45-46, was 45 when found lump and bx results said IDC...turned 46 the day of my lumpectomy.

    Now looking back I wish I had just had my tubes tied after my children were born and not used any chemical birth control....hind sight is always 20-20!!!!!!!

    I personally think that those of us that are strongly ER+ have a greater risk of birth control elevating the cancer. Mine you that is just MY PERSONAL opinion.

  • lisa-e
    lisa-e Member Posts: 169
    edited September 2009

    I never used birth control pills or used HRT.  I was 56 when diagnosed with bc.  I have/had some risk factors but didn't have others.  I started my periods early and had a late menopause (still having periods when I was diagnosed).  I was overweight, but ate well and exercised regularly.  I had my son @ 28 and breastfed for an extended period.   No family history of bc, but lots of other cancers in my family.   

    I think that getting bc can't be attributed to any one thing, including birth control pills, but to a combination of factors.  Someone above said that they thought bc pills are contributing to the fact that more younger women are being diagnosed.   I don't know about that, but I think it is important to also look at environmental factors and the increasing efficiency of screening methods for picking up early bc.  Not simple . . .