Birth control pills, non-breastfeeding linked to high risk for breast cancer
By David Liu, PH.D.
Monday Jan 1, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Women who have a family history of breast cancer are at high risk for breast cancer. But a new study suggests that the magnitude of risk from oral contraceptive pills and a history of not having vreastfeeding is similar to that of a family history of breast cancer.
The study led by R. Lodha and colleagues in LN Medical College and Research Centre in Bhopal, India found women who had a history of using oral contraceptive pills were 200 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, compared with those who did not use.
Similarly, women who had a history of not having breastfeeding were 262 percent more likely to develop breast cancer, compared with those who breastfed.
In comparison, women who had a family history of breast cancer were almost 300 percent more likely to have breast cancer, compared with those who had no family history.
The study in the Jul-Sep 2011 issue of Indian Journal of Cancer was based on data from participants from an urban area in Central India and participants were followed from Oct 2008 through Aug 2009.
The researchers concluded "The findings of the present study suggests that positive family history of breast cancer and history of using OCP may be the epigenetic factors promoting the occurrence of breast cancer while breastfeeding reduces the possibility of acquiring breast cancer. "
Breast cancer is diagnosed in more than 200,000 women in the United States each year and the disease and its complications kill about 50,000 each year in the country. One in 8 American women are expected to be diagnosed with the disease.
Breast cancer is in many cases preventable. A healthy lifestyle and diet is believed to be important in preventing the disease. Some reproductive habits and hormone replacement therapy and hormone-based birth control pills are also important risk factors.