New Delhi,26 Jan, Neetu Chandra: The risk of breast cancer was 9.5 times higher in women, mostly urban, with a history of consumption of oral contraceptive pills Urban working women are not only delaying getting married in a bid to build their careers, they are also apparently delaying having children by using contraceptive pills and incidental abortions. This, according to a study, is perhaps making such women vulnerable to the danger of breast cancer.
A study by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has revealed that women who marry at a later age, don’t breastfeed their babies for long, have higher number of abortions, and use oral contraceptive pills have higher chances of having breast cancer.
The department of gastroenterology and human nutrition unit of the premier institute conducted the study on 640 women and published the data in the latest issue of Indian Journal of Cancer. The premier medical institute conducted the study to investigate the association of various reproductive factors with breast cancer. The study was based on a study of patients coming to the AIIMS OPD and IPD.
“Women who marry after 20 years of age were at 2.69 times higher risk of getting breast cancer. The age at first childbirth was also found to be associated with the risk of breast cancer with a woman being at two-fold risk if her first child is born after 21 years of age. It was found that the risk of breast cancer was 9.50 times higher in women with a history of consumption of oral contraceptive pills,” said Dr Umesh Kapil, Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutrition Unit, of the women who were part of the study.
“A history of abortion was also found to be positively associated with the risk of breast cancer with the risk going up by 6.26 times. The risk of breast cancer increased 14.9 and 3.29 times in women having mean duration of breastfeeding less than 13 months and the last childbirth at more than 27 years of age, respectively,” he said.
But researchers have suggested that lactation might reduce breast cancer risk by temporarily draining the breasts of potential chemical carcinogens.