5. Medication risks
Lifetime exposure to estrogen is a risk factor for breast cancer, so there is some concern about women's use of oral contraceptives and postmenopausal hormone therapy.
Women taking birth control pills are at a slightly increased risk of breast cancer, especially beyond the age of 35. The risk is significantly increased for women who take the pill and also smoke. However, in addition to preventing unwanted pregnancy, long-term use of oral contraceptives may also provide significant benefits in reducing your risk of ovarian, colon, and uterine cancers.
Still, for those at high-risk, or who are especially concerned about breast cancer prevention, avoiding birth control pills can help prevent the development of cancer.
What to do?
Birth control pills and hormone therapy have risks as well as benefits. Discuss them with your clinician before deciding whether to take them or for how long. If you know your mother took DES when she was pregnant with you, or if you took DES yourself, let your clinician know so you can discuss a screening schedule.