British scientists have uncovered a disturbing find that those women on long-term hormonal contraceptives, five years or longer, carry an increased risk of glioma—the most common form of brain cancer.
Participants between the ages of 15 and 49 were used in this study, which was published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Women all over the world use hormonal contraceptives, making the results of this study far more worrisome.
It is also a tad contradictory. For certain age groups, hormonal contraception can also be cancer protective, other studies have found. Still, there has been some evidence that an increase in female hormones can increase the propensity of developing certain cancers. As for glioma, not much is known on what causes it or its development.
To conduct this study, researchers combed through the national health registries isolating women who developed glioma between 2000 and 2009. 317 cases were found. These were matched against women who did not have brain cancer. What stood out to researchers, these same women with brain cancer were also on hormonal contraceptives.
Dr. David Gaist was the team leader of this study. He hails from Odense University Hospital and the University of Southern Denmark. Dr. Gaist said that although they found a statistically significant link “…a risk-benefit evaluation would still favor the use of hormonal contraceptives in eligible users.” Doubtless this study will spur more research and debate, and perhaps even contribute to the development of new and better contraceptive methods.