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How many of us took Birth Control Pills?

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245

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  • cp418
    cp418 Member Posts: 359
    edited September 2009
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    I took the pill on/off for about 10 years and was told very minimal risk of BC.  Actually encouraged to use to protect against ovarian cancer - - now it feels like that conversation was a sales pitch.  Other methods were never discussed or offered to me.  I was dx at age 49 pre-menopause strongly hormone receptor positive.

  • fairy49
    fairy49 Member Posts: 536
    edited September 2009
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    I took the pill, starting at 18, stopped at 25, started again at 30, stopped at 34.  I am a firm believer that messing with the hormones is a huge factor in BC, just my humble opinion......

  • Meece
    Meece Member Posts: 10,618
    edited September 2009
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    I took Ortho Novum for a year and a half then off for pregnancies Pregnant or nursing for 40 months, using other methods of conraception during that time, then back on the pill for 6 months, pregnant again.  Had last baby and had a tubal occlusion.  So I probably was on the pill two years total, and no hormones since I was 25 1/2.  That was 21 years ago.  I doubt that it had much to do with my bc.

  • Makratz
    Makratz Member Posts: 1,605
    edited September 2009
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    I took ortho novum for 20 years with the exception of 2 pregnancies.  No family history, I have 3 sisters and 26 cousins that are female!  No breast cancer!!I Always thought that birth control pills were to blame for my bc.

  • texgirl
    texgirl Member Posts: 17
    edited September 2009
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    I began on BCP's at 19 and took them for 6 yrs. That was the OrthoNovum 1/80 the powerhourse of its day. I saw a new Gyn and requested another form of birth control..and she refused saying that I needed to come back and she would "clear up all the misconceptions that I had about the pill " ! %@! I didn't care what she thought ..all I thought she needed to know was that I wanted off ! I went to see another Doc and got an IUD....never went on the pill again till perimenopause and was on one about 1 1/2 yrs....till my dx.

  • AnneW
    AnneW Member Posts: 612
    edited September 2009
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    I took OCPs for about 14 years, up til the day I was diagnosed at age 44. I always knew they could possibly increase my risk for BC, and that I was already at a little higher risk due to other things (mother with bc, early menarche, no babies.) BUT--I weighed the risks versus benefits, and decided to have a day-to-day quality of life that the Pill afforded me. It controlled my mirgaines, reduced my disabling menstrual cramps, stabilized my moods, cleared my skin, and kept my bresats from being horribly painful two weeks out of the month.

    I wouldn't change a thing. Those were 14 great years. What if I hadn't taken the Pill and never got cancer? I'd be bitching and whining about a lifetime of misery...

    My bc was well-differentiated and ER/PR +. The cells were about as normal as you get and still be cancer. I figured my cancer to be a dumb and happy one--getting little bits of hormone to keep it fed, without making it grow wildly in search of more. No scientific theory to that, mind you. It just makes me feel better to think it!!!

    So, yeah, OCPs upped my risk. And I always knew it would. And I teach my patients that it can. People tend to take care of business today, and worry about tomorrow when it comes. As for the Pill "causing" my cancer? I doubt it.

    Anne

  • fairy49
    fairy49 Member Posts: 536
    edited September 2009
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    I don't think the pill "causes" cancer, I think hormone imbalance has something to do with it, messing with the hormones for years, has got to have an impact.

  • cp418
    cp418 Member Posts: 359
    edited September 2009
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    fairy49 - I think you made an excellent point.  I have no family hx of female cancers - but - I always had horrible heavy periods and terrible PMS.  IMO, I had some extreme hormone levels in my body already and the OCP pulled the trigger.  The problem is gyns commonly wrote prescriptions for OC and HRT with NO monitoring of the patient's hormone levels.  I don't recall ever even discussing my periods with my gyn.  When I described my terrible PMS, she gave me a prescription for a mild sedative!!!  (note - This was a female gyn too!!)

    I always had the feeling she was too busy wtih the OB side of her practise - - so when some one like myself came in for a yearly check-up -- - I was flipped out the door ASAP.

  • IllinoisNancy
    IllinoisNancy Member Posts: 99
    edited September 2009
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    I took birth control pills for 19 years...right up to the day I was dx with breast cancer.  I think it is one of the main reasons I got cancer. 

  • makingway
    makingway Member Posts: 465
    edited September 2009
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    I took the pill back in the 80's for a couple years, then stopped. But, what I did do that could have possibly been 'the trigger' was take that morning after pill to prevent pregnancy. This was in 2005. It changed my period. For a few months I didn't have a normal period. A friend had warned me, after the fact, not to ever take them. She said they cause problems. Someone told me it's a high dose of hormones.

  • sanaisa
    sanaisa Member Posts: 58
    edited September 2009
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    Coicidence becasue we are a captured audience, or not?  This is very interesting.  I know that I was considered "low risk" for breast cancer because I started my menses after age 12, had two babies before 30, nursed both babies for a year, have no breast cancer in my family history, my BRAC 1 + 2 were both negative (no genetic mutations found).  My Onc did ask about HRT... interesting...I took the birth control pill from age 20-40 (with a cumulative 4 year break to have my babies)...at age 40, I stopped getting my periods between prescriptions and when I sas the OB/GYN, he said I was pre-menopausal...went of the pill, was thrown into hot flash hell and never had another period again.  I declined Premarin (as I owned two horses and could not bear to take that medication), plus I heard a bunch of warnings about it.  Of course, the "camp" out there says that taking birth control pills is the same thing as HRT, so it would have made no difference.  I am not genetically disposed to BC, my "risk factor" was under 10% based on my history.  My Onc is blaming on the environment (telling me to cease eating all meats/dairy products that could contain growth hormones ... in other words, eat only organics).  Onc is also telling me to drink only organic coffees/teas (you can request these at Starbucks and other stores) as the pesticides used and chemicals used in preparing the beans/leaves for consumption can leave levels of toxins that can be harmful to those of us that are ER/PR+ ... who the heck knows what happened?  I am HR/PR+ (to a lower degree) and HER2 +...  I thought it was interesting the Onc asked about my taking the birth control pill...very interesting.  I agree, taking hormomes in any form, direct or indirect (through pills or food) certainly is something to raise an eyebrow over.  I know most people think organic meats and dairy products are a crock, but I am not so sure now.  They attribute girls getting early menses due to the growth hormomes found in meats in dairy products.  And yes, I agree that we are the "guinea pig" generation for this. 

    Thank you...

  • Diana_B
    Diana_B Member Posts: 4
    edited September 2009
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    cp418 - i agree with you entirely.

     it's not that i think that the pill always causes bc, but that some people have hormonal issues to begin with and shouldn't be given the pill.

    i too loved being on the pill because of my bad pms but especially because my breasts were almost always sore and tender to the touch. i know now that's a sign of a hormonal imbalance. i also had my periods more often than every 28 days.

    i think they should test hormone levels too before prescribing the pill. how can they possibly say the pill is safe for everyone? surely they should try to create some protocols for warning people or at least should investigate this more closely.

  • Meece
    Meece Member Posts: 10,618
    edited September 2009
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    I was TN, so hormones didn't play a part in my bc, perhaps.  But, I had extremely heavy periods and my Gyno told me after chemo finished that my hormone levels were high.  It was so nice not to have the periods during chemo.  It was about the only nice hing, other than not needing to shve my legs!  My periods came back with a vengance a a couple of months after completing chemo, so I opted for the Nova-sure procedure, and am extremly happy.  I am just curious if menopause will hit with a vengance, or sneak up on me.  I haven't had a period since the procedure 4 years ago next month.

  • every8thwoman
    every8thwoman Member Posts: 14
    edited September 2009
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    This is a very interesting topic.  Is it possible to ask one of the "experts" during a Q and A  that are sponsored at this website?  I always thought I was "unlucky" that I couldn't take birth control pills because they made me nauseous every time I tried (the dosages were higher then).  I stayed on birth control pills for 4 months before calling it quits.  I STILL got breast cancer.  In my case, I think it was genetic because both mom and grandma got breast cancer and neither took birth control pills.  Always wondered this question tho.

  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,885
    edited September 2009
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    I'm reading a book (THE COMPLETE BREAST BOOK - June Engel) which brought up something interesting related to this topic.  Women with "dense breasts," in the mammographic sense of the word, are six times more likely to develop breast cancer. Dense breasts are more likely found in women who began their periods at an early age; lean women; and women who have INCREASED EXPOSURE TO ESTROGENS (here's the Pill tie-in); and alcohol consumption was also said to increase estrogen levels in the body.  So, maybe most of us have "denser" tissue due to BCP usage.

    When I see claims that BCPs are linked to cancer somehow, it usually references usage of 10 years or more.  I'm not saying there is a magic number of years, but the 10 year time period is usually what I see mentioned.

    Sanaisa, I hope it isn't from tea drinking.  I'm a tea-a-holic, and what about the poor Brits?

  • swimangel72
    swimangel72 Member Posts: 142
    edited September 2009
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    I refused to go on the birth control pill when I was young because my girl-friends  mom died of cancer and the word on the block was that it was caused by the pill. I was never overweight - always exercised, had a late period (14) had 3 kids (the first one at the age of 31, a slight increase risk there) breast fed all three - had an early menopause (48) and was still dx'd with BC at the age of 53 (ER/PR positive by 90%) - I think that progesterone is also playing a major role in whether we get bc but I don't know how. The following are also becoming implicated in  bc: insulin levels, thyroid hormone levels, poly-cystic ovarian syndrom, weight gain in your stomach especially after menopause (guilty as charged) - the food we eat - and the insecticides we were exposed to before we even hit puberty (I was exposed to DDT before I even had breasts - which scientists are now saying is a major risk factor.) OH - and I'm also TALL (5'9") Undecided

    ANYWAY - I find it so interesting that the first question they ask us when we get BC is "were you ever on the birth control pill?" - yet - the ob/gyn's are STILL prescribing them nilly-willy and saying they do NOT cause BC! My 21-year-old daughter has just started (today) on Yaz because of a 7cm ovarian cyst and breakthrough bleeding. Her ob/gyn said the pill will help shrink this cyst and help control her periods and acne - I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works. I also read somewhere that they are advising young women that the pill is ok for 5 years in a row - but after that, GET OFF! If I can find that study I'll post it here.

  • kk69Z
    kk69Z Member Posts: 38
    edited September 2009
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    I also took the pill back in late 70's until 1981. I would say for about 5 years. Who knows what gave us breast cancer. I also never had children. Most of the other stats don't add up with me.  I guess we all are just the unluckys who got it. But we are all lucky to have found this forum and got to know a lot of great ladies.

  • mradf
    mradf Member Posts: 24
    edited September 2009
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    I took birth control pills for 10 years - bad, but it was Lo-ovral - better.

    Early onset of menstruation - bad, but breast fed my children - good.

    Family history of BC and OC - bad.

    Drink red wine in moderation - bad/good, depending on who you talk to.

    Grew up slim, fit and active - good, but got typical middle aged belly fat - bad, but not enough to use to reconstruct my breasts - good.

    I can't figure it out, and it really doesn't matter anymore, because for me and my sister, we became 100% at risk to get BC, although our backgrounds are slightly different.  She was never pregnant or bore children (by choice).  My three other sisters are very concerned, as are their doctors, but no one really knows what to tell them to do any differently.    For them, it's all about screening.  Maybe for our next generation of girls, my daughter and nieces, there will be much more practical information about prevention.

    Be well,

    Maria

  • Chattypatti
    Chattypatti Member Posts: 17
    edited September 2009
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    I took the pill for 3 years from age 21 to 24.  I didn't get cancer until age 52.  This would be interesting research since BC is so prevelant these days.  That's why they are discouraging HRT.  I think anytime we mess with hormones, things can happen.  However there are still plenty of women out there who got BC without ever having been on the pill.  Sure would make for some interesting research!

    patti

  • portiasproudmom
    portiasproudmom Member Posts: 11
    edited September 2009
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    I took Ortho Novum on and off for about 20 years.  I've always thought that taking the pill had something to do with my developing bc.  There is no history of bc in my family.

    Karen

  • karen_3
    karen_3 Member Posts: 2
    edited September 2009
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    I took birth control for 15 years, basically when not trying to get pregnant, I was on the pill.  The internet is full of data about how there IS a relation - I've read studies that state BOLDLY that there is a 200% increase in chance of pre-menopausal breast cancer.  Hello - if hrt has been proven to cause BC, why not the synthetic hormones that are found in oral contraceptives...what's the difference.  I was diagnosed this year at 40 years of age.   What has made me even more angry is that just prior to diagnosis - my doctor told me to stay on the pill until after menopause.  Then I would have TRICKED nature!  Yeah right, the trick is that I didn't like his attitude and went off the pill that weekend but was diagnosed with BC after detecting my own lump 3 months later.  I also am adopted, so I could have been seriously BRCA1 or BRCA2 positive (thank God I am not) which would have made BC even more likely after all those years on the pill.  All the doctors that dispensed it to me like a bag a jelly beans knew I had no family history and not one, not one SINGLE ob/gyn even mentioned a possible connection even slightly. 

    I do not trust anything allopathic doctors say to me anymore, I have since taken my daughters off of vacinations and we all see a hallopathic doctor.

    Karen

  • karen_3
    karen_3 Member Posts: 2
    edited September 2009
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    Many of the studies that I have read like GOSPEL state that the biggest risk is when you are on the pill for a period of 5 years before giving birth to your first child - (there is a Mayo clinic study on this one)  I was on the pill for 5 years 19-24 years of age before giving birth to my daughter Erika.  The body secretes a protective hormone during pregnancy that protects the breasts.  Exposing your breast tissue to these synthetic forms of estrogen before your body ever becomes pregnant is BAD!!!! there are many studies on this.  All the young women in college RIGHT now trying not to become pregnant while getting there degree are at risk.  Tell everyone you know.  My three daughters will NEVER EVER be on oral contraceptives!!!

  • shelleyr25
    shelleyr25 Member Posts: 19
    edited September 2009
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    Another one here on LoOvral forever...just dx 8/09. I had been on it since I was about 16 up until last month and I am now 43, stopping only to have 2 kids. My tumor is estrogen fed and waiting to find out results of genetic testing although I am anticipating that coming up neg. with no history of bc in my family. Obviously stopped taking it immediatly but the damage has been done, I am convinced of that.

  • squid
    squid Member Posts: 2
    edited September 2009
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    Pill for 4 years, age 17 to 21, 1974-78. Childless. BC diagnosis at age 52.

  • sta1129
    sta1129 Member Posts: 4
    edited September 2009
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    I was on the pill - LoOvral - for nearly 13 years. I went off of it the year before my dx, but went right back to the horrible cycles and pain that had driven me to it many years before. The first thing my surgeon said was "throw that stuff away."

  • mcgaffey
    mcgaffey Member Posts: 45
    edited September 2009
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    Never took pill, no HRT. I had high levels of estrogen and a late menopause and breast cancer at 59. My mom had breast cancer at 58. She lived until 98. I consider mine inherited. My sis is on raloxifine and is clear so far and she is older than me but had osteopenia by her late 50s so she is being protected by her bone meds, I think. I am on AIs and hope that prevents me from having another occurrence like my Mom did at age 70 in a second breast. She ended up totally flat chested and since all her lymph nodes were removed, she had problems with arm swelling in her 90s.

  • mom_of_2
    mom_of_2 Member Posts: 102
    edited September 2009
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    I took the pill and blame the pill for my ER/PR+ cancer.

    * Took pill 20+ years starting at age 16 (breaks when I had babies)

    * No family history of cancer of any kind

    * Kids before age 30

    * Breast fed 

    * Do not smoke, social drinker

    * Exercise daily, maintain weight

    * BRAC - 

    * 12 year vegetarian when diagnosed at 40.

    There is no other reason than the environment. The pill was stopped the minute my path report came in showing my ER %. I look at my check list and think of all of the "How to prevent BC" articles I have read...I already do everything within my power to prevent cancer BUT here I am!

    I just wish I knew the real risks of the pill 25 years ago. My 18 year old daughter will never take estrogen! 

  • liztaylor1
    liztaylor1 Member Posts: 1
    edited September 2009
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    This thread (and others like it) is right on....

    BCP for 17 years; Prempro for 3 years.

    Hot flashes are back and I am "enjoying" them this time - knowing that the HRT may have "fed" this thing.  Back in the late 60's, the BCPs were HUGE.  I had a gut feeling, even then, that they were too good to be true....

    Liz

  • drgnfly
    drgnfly Member Posts: 5
    edited September 2009
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    I took Ortho Novum for about twelve years and then after my second child my husband had a vasectomy. Fifteen years later, still having regular periods, I took two months of birth control pills to regulate my period to avoid having it during a big vacation. During that two months a lump in my breast that I had previously been told was my RIB (after nothing showed on mammo or US even though I could feel something) grew at an alarming rate. When I first started the pill and my breasts were super sore I called my gyno and she told me that the pill I was on was very high in estrogen. Two months later I was dx with a 3.9 ER/PR+ tumor that had been there for at least three years. I basically threw gasoline on a fire. While I think that I will never know why I got bc, I do know that going on the pill for that short time escalated and sped up the growth of my bc. Even when I went to the gyno she said she just felt a thickening, not a lump. Amazing. After two and half years I still shake my head at these events! I also am concered that my 20 year old daughter has now been on the pill for several years....

  • mom_of_2
    mom_of_2 Member Posts: 102
    edited September 2009
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    Drgnfly...

    We did lots of research for birth control options for my daughter. She uses condoms but is the uptight type and wants a back up. After talking with 3 different gynocologist...one a personal friend...we decided she would get the progesterone-only Implanon implant. It is a small matchstick that is inserted inside upper arm in docs office.

    It was a very hard decision but we feel we have made the best choice since there aren't many estrogen-free options out there. 

    Good luck