Even after 50 years women are still confused about the effects of the pill.
December marks the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill, and according to a a poll released by Human Life International America (HLI), most American women do not know the health risks that are associated with the use of hormonal contraceptives like the birth control pill. The most commonly used form of birth control since the 1960s, “The Pill” has been linked to an increase in the risk of breast cancer.
Jenn Giroux, executive director of HLI America, said that the organization conducted the poll to determine how many women were actually aware of the pill’s risks.
“[I have] concern about this from a women’s perspective,” Giroux told the Daily Caller. “A lot of mothers I know share with me and are concerned about their daughters having cramps follow the advice of their doctors to put their young daughters on the birth control pill, not realizing that any young woman on the pill for four years, before their first full term baby, increase their breast cancer risk 52 percent.”
According to the poll, 19 percent of respondents said that they were aware of the fact that the pill increases the risk of developing breast cancer. 49 percent said that they were warned of weight gain, 23 percent of headaches, and 40 percent spoke of blood clots and increased risk of stroke.
“It’s long been known that estrogen/progestogen combination drugs such as the pill does cause breast cancer. In fact, in 2005 the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, put it as a Group I carcinogen,” said Dr. Angela Lanfranchipe, breast cancer surgeon and co-director of Sanofi Aventis Breast Cancer Center Steeplechase Cancer Center.
Most women who take or have taken the Pill began taking it at the age of 18 or younger. Fewer than 20 percent of women have never taken the pill and 60 percent said they started taking it in order to avoid pregnancy. Protecting against unwanted pregnancy was the number one response, while the second was a desire to regulate the menstruation cycle.
“It is time for an awareness campaign for young women and their health and we have to connect the dots,” Giroux said. “Government institutions like the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute’s issues warnings and restrictions all the time on things like cigarettes . . . but what about issuing these warnings to young women who are taking these hormones and putting themselves at risk for cancer?”