You may have seen the headlines recently about a new study, which found that some people taking progestin-only birth control may have higher chances of developing breast cancer. The study found that statements such as “progestogen-only breast cancer risk” or “all types of hormonal contraceptives slightly increase the risk of breast cancer.”

However, there are a few things you should know before you panic about your contraception.

The research, published in PLoS Medicine, looked at women under the age of 50 and compared those who had breast cancer with those who didn’t. The results indicated that taking a progestin-based contraceptive was associated with a nominal increase in the risk of developing the disease.

A progestin, a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone, is often used alone in contraceptives such as IUDs and hormone injections, as well as some forms of birth control pills. (People also refer to progestin as progesterone or progesterone.) Previous research has shown that other types of hormonal birth control, which contain both estrogen and progesterone, also carry an increased risk of breast cancer.

“The majority of the data we have is for combination oral contraceptives and estrogen and progesterone,” said Dr. Katina Robison, director of gynecologic oncology at Tufts Medical Center in Massachusetts. (Robinson was not affiliated with the study.)

“There’s a huge trend of progestin-only contraceptives that we’ve been using. That includes injections and IUDs, which are incredibly common now. So they looked at all of those, which is unique in this study,” Robison said.

The study, which was conducted in the United Kingdom, compared data from 9,498 women under the age of 50 who had breast cancer with a control group of 18,171 women who did not have breast cancer from 1996 to 2017. But the results found that, while there was an increased risk for women under the age of 50, The percentage is incredibly low, according to Robinson.

The study found that for women ages 16 to 35 who took the progestin-only pill, the risk increased by less than 1%. So, he hardly changed, Robinson said.

For women 35 to 39, the increase was 20% to 30% higher. But even this isn’t as scary as it sounds: Because breast cancer more Rarely in women under 50, the actual risk may have increased by 20% to 30% in the study, but this equates to a risk increase of only 2% to 2.2% overall. In other words, Robinson stressed, this shouldn’t cause too much concern.

However, the study did have some limitations. The patient’s full medical history was not available, so it is not known if the patients were using other forms of birth control before the study, if they had other risk factors such as family history, or if they smoked. In addition, the study focused on the short-term risks of developing breast cancer – the long-term risks of using birth control are not known.

In addition, birth control comes with its benefits as well. Many people take birth control so they don’t have to worry about getting pregnant. Birth control can help control menstrual cramps, make your periods lighter, and can prevent cysts in the breasts and ovaries, according to Planned Parenthood.

What’s more, Robson said, it can also help reduce the risk of some types of cancer. “These types of progesterone contraceptives are used to treat endometrial cancer and pre-cancers, so there are also benefits, even cancer-related benefits, that we don’t often talk about when we see these types of studies,” Robison said. She added that birth control is also known to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

If you are concerned about your risk of breast cancer, talk to your doctor. While this study shows that there is a slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer, it is not something that contraception forgoes.

“I think that, in my opinion, shouldn’t change any recommendations for progesterone-only contraceptive use for women. I think it doesn’t change that at all,” said Robison.

If you’re concerned, your doctor can tell you steps you can take to mitigate your risk and help you watch for any early signs of illness. According to Robison, maintaining a healthy diet, limiting alcohol intake and sticking to regular exercise are all ways to help prevent breast cancer.

“The other thing that I think is really important is for women to know that there are genetic links to breast cancer,” she added.

If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, it is important to tell your doctor so that he or she can determine if you are eligible for early testing or screening. Being proactive is the best way to reduce your risk – more than changing your contraceptive method to work for you.

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