Even newer forms of birth control can increase the risk of breast cancer, study says

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A major new study has found that even birth control pills and other contraceptives that release low doses of hormones increase the risk of breast cancer in women.

While the link between hormonal birth control and breast cancer has been known for years, many doctors and women had hoped that newer forms of birth control, such as IUDs, vaginal rings and implants, put women at less risk.

The study by researchers from the University of Copenhagen, which followed 1.8 million Danish women for more than a decade, found that differences in the formulation of hormone-based birth control had little effect on the cancer risk. The study also found that the risk of cancer increased the longer a woman used the birth control.

Overall, the breast cancer risk was 20 percent higher for women who were currently using or had recently used hormonal contraceptives than among those who had never used it. The estrogen used in hormonal contraceptives can promote the development of breast cancer.

The study offered a look at the effects of modern birth control use, over a long period of time, in a large group of women. The researchers followed women between the ages of 15 and 49 over an average of nearly 11 years.

Sixty-two percent of women of reproductive age use contraception, according to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics that looked at the period from 2000 to 2010. Most women used birth control pills, the report said.

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