Hormonal Contraceptives and the Risk of Breast Cancer
A diagnosis of breast cancer (BC) is a scary event in one’s life, leading many with the diagnosis to examine their previous and current risk factors for the disease. Given the wide use of hormonal contraceptives (HC) by women, the link between the use of HC has been studied as a possible risk factor in the development of BC. In the United States, there are more than 3.8 million women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer (American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2021). The National Cancer Institute identifies BC as the number one cancer diagnosed in women (2020). BC has the potential to not only affect breast tissue, but to alter a woman's self-concept and quality of life. HCs can be administered in a variety of routes and work by altering the female’s ovulation and menstrual cycles. Each type of HC presents different benefits/risks to consumers. The purpose of this Evidence Based Practice Review is to examine published literature regarding HCs in women of childbearing age and their risk of developing BC. Women who use HCs will be compared to those who don’t, to determine this potential risk. Healthcare providers can use this information to encourage or discourage the use of HCs, or alter HC education to patients. If there is a link between the use of HCs and the development of BC, the relationship must be understood to inform users of HCs about the risk and to ensure women are properly screened for the disease.