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July 1, 2002

Birth Control Pills Not Linked to Breast Cancer

Taking the birth control pill does not raise the risk of breast cancer in women, according to a new study published in New England Journal of Medicine and reported by the Associated Press and other news agencies. The study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health, found no increased risk of breast cancer regardless of whether the women took the pills as teens or adults, for months or years, or had a family history of breast cancer.

Nancy E. Davidson, MD, and Kathy Helzlsouer, MD, MHS, wrote an accompanying editorial for the New England Journal of Medicine, which agreed with the study’s findings. Dr. Davidson is professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Helzlsouer is professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. Helzlsouer told the Associated Press, “It's nice to be able to give good news to women about something so many women take or have taken.”

New England Journal of Medicine Editorial (subscription required)

Associated Press Article

Public Affairs Media Contact for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons @ 410.955.6878 or paffairs@jhsph.edu