Breast Cancer Prevention

Pregnancy & Hormones

Pregnancy & Hormones


Did you know that use of hormone therapy or birth control pills may affect your chances of developing breast cancer?1 Athena, the goddess of wisdom, armed herself with knowledge. As an Athena® warrior, we hope you'll do the same. Here are a few things to think about:


  • Know your risk. If you have never had children or you had your first child after age 30, you have a slightly higher breast cancer risk overall. However, the effect of pregnancy is different for different types of breast cancer. For one type, known as triple-negative, pregnancy seems to increase risk.1
  • Talk to your doctor about birth control pills. Some studies have shown that women using oral contraceptives have a slightly greater risk of breast cancer than women who have never used them.1 However, the risk seems to go back to normal over time once the pills are stopped.1 Before starting or stopping birth control pills, talk to your doctor about your individual situation.1
  • Learn about the potential risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy. Some types of post-menopausal hormone therapy, also known as hormone replacement therapy, increase the risk of breast cancer.1 Combined hormone therapy, which includes both estrogen and progesterone, has been linked to a higher risk of getting breast cancer and perhaps even a greater risk of dying from it.1 The good news is that three years after stopping hormone therapy, the risk seems to return to normal.2 The use of estrogen alone, which is sometimes prescribed to women after a hysterectomy, does not seem to significantly increase the risk of developing breast cancer; however, it may carry other risks.1, 2 Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of hormone therapy in your particular situation.

Sources:
1What are the risk factors for breast cancer?, http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BreastCancer/DetailedGuide/breast-cancer-risk-factors
2Menopausal Hormone Replacement Therapy and Cancer Risk, http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/medicaltreatments/menopausal-hormone-replacement-therapy-and-cancer-risk