Dear President Obama and HHS Secretary Sebelius:
Publicize the fact that birth control pills are a Group I carcinogen (in the same group as tobacco) now that women can get them free of charge.
The free availability of birth control pills (BCP) has received widespread publicity. What hasn’t been publicized as well is the cancer risk associated with taking them.
It's just human nature that if something is free more people will take it. So now more women than ever will probably take BCPs since they are going to be provided free of charge because of the Affordable Care Act. Yet according to the World Health Organization’s 2012 Review of Human Carcinogens:
“There is sufficient evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of combined estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives. Combined estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives cause cancer of the breast, in-situ and invasive cancer of the uterine cervix, and cancer of the liver.”1
Even the American Cancer Society classifies estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives as a 'Known and Probably Human Carcinogen”.2
Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, a breast surgical oncologist and co-founder of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute said at a 2010 ’50 years of the Pill’ conference:
“…..a 2006 Mayo Clinic meta-analysis that concluded that breast cancer risk rises 50 percent for women taking oral contraceptives four or more years before a full-term pregnancy. In 2009, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that women starting the pill before 18 nearly quadruple their risk of … breast cancer. ….. Swedish oncologist Hakan Olsson concluded that pill use before the age of 20 increases a young woman’s breast cancer risk by more than 1000 percent. ….. Women want to know, and women have a right to know, what researchers have known for over 20 years …. (When) hormone replacement therapy (HRT) … was found to be carcinogenic in 2002…… 15 out of 30 million women in America taking HRT stopped; by 2007, invasive breast cancer in women over 50 for estrogen-receptive positive tumors dropped 11 percent.”3
Why hasn’t this information been publicized as widely as the free availability of BCPs? Women have the right to be told about the cancer risks they are taking if you are going to provide BCPs for free.
Teresa LoPorto, RN