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General News    H4'ed 12/13/17

Birth Control Pills Linked to Breast Cancer--How Could That Happen?

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"Most studies suggest that the use of oral contraceptives is not associated with an overall increase in the risk of developing breast cancer," says the FDA about a popular hormone-based birth control pill. Don't worry ladies----you're in good hands.

But last week a study in the New England Journal of Medicine found otherwise: it revealed a small but significant risk of breast cancer with regular hormonal birth control pills. And, the longer women take them, the higher the risk.

While Pharma, the FDA and the medical establishment collectively plead "Who Knew"----they knew. Almost 50 years ago the breast cancer risks of hormonal birth control pills were exposed by Barbara Seaman in The Doctor's Case Against the Pill and reiterated in her follow-up book The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on Women.

Pharma, the FDA and Medicine Have Known About Breast Cancer Links to the Pill for Decades
Pharma, the FDA and Medicine Have Known About Breast Cancer Links to the Pill for Decades
(Image by Martha Rosenberg)
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Are we supposed to believe Pharma, the FDA and mainstream medicine did not "know" about the breast cancer risks when hormonal birth control pill labels warn patients to not take the drug if they have "a history of hormone-related cancer such as breast or uterine cancer?" and to "tell your healthcare professional if you have a family history of breast cancer or if you have had breast nodules or an abnormal mammogram"?

Breast cancer links with hormonal birth control pills have been known since 1969 but Pharma has always spun them. How? By telling women they will be spared other cancers---- "Oral contraceptive use may provide some protection against... cancer of the ovaries and cancer of the lining of the uterus"----and actually telling them their breast cancer won't be so bad. "Breast cancers diagnosed in current or previous OC [oral contraceptive] users tend to be less clinically advanced than in nonusers."

Even this week, the New York Times assures women their breast cancer-causing hormonal birth control bills are "associated with lower risks of ovarian, endometrial and colorectal cancer." Is that a joke? Should women have to choose between one cancer and another?

Pharma administering hormones to its female human "lab animals"----Seaman's term---- is not new. Between 1941 and 1971, more than four million pregnant women in the U.S. were given stilbestrol (DES) to prevent miscarriages, a hormone drug so dangerous it is now illegal to give to women and even illegal to give to food animals.

From the late 1940's until 15 years ago, millions of women were given the drugs Premarin and later Prempro for the "disease" of menopause. In 1975, an FDA panel found a link between Premarin and endometrial cancer, and the NEJM indicted estrogen therapy for increasing the risk of endometrial cancer by at least five times. When women quit Premarin en masse in the 1970s because of its cancerous side effects "There was a sharp downward trend in the incidence of endometrial cancer that paralleled a substantial reduction in prescriptions for replacement estrogens," reported the NEJM in 1979.

Flash forward to the early 2000's when women quit Prempro (the follow-up to Premarin) en masse because of its cancer links and the incidence of breast cancer in the United States fell 7 percent by 2003. It fell 15 percent among women whose tumors were fed by estrogen (contrary to what the Council on Hormone Education asserted.) Ovarian cancer rates also dropped.

It was the first time breast cancer rates had ever fallen significantly, reported the New York Times. According to Peter Ravdin, MD, of the MD Anderson Cancer Center, it was the largest one-year drop that he could remember. The National Cancer Institute reported a "huge decline in breast cancer incidence" the year women quit HRT. Fourteen thousand women who were expected to get breast cancer didn't, reported researchers, and the largest breast cancer reductions, 11 percent in California, correlated with the highest HRT use. Yes Pharma was giving women cancer.

As with hormonal birth control pills, Pharma told women menopause drugs would lower other cancer risks such as colorectal cancer----as if women should be exposed to any risks at all and would want to "trade" one cancer for another. The Pharma spin machine also told women breast cancer in Prempro users would be easier to treat.

(Article changed on December 13, 2017 at 21:25)

(Article changed on December 14, 2017 at 00:24)

(Article changed on December 14, 2017 at 14:51)

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)

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