WEDNESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- There appears to be a link between an injectable form of progestin-only birth control, best known as Depo-Provera, and an increased risk of breast cancer in young women, new research suggests.
For the study, researchers compared more than 1,000 Seattle-area women, aged 20 to 44, who were diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 900 women without breast cancer.
Recent use of the injectable contraceptive (formally called depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate or DMPA) for a year or longer was associated with a 2.2-fold increased risk of invasive breast cancer, the study found.
This increased risk appeared to fade within months after women stopped using the contraceptive, and women who used the contraceptive for less than a year or who had stopped using it more than a year earlier did not have any increased risk of breast cancer, according to the findings published online and in the April 15 print issue of the journal Cancer Research.
"Although breast cancer is rare among young women and the elevated risk of breast cancer associated with DMPA appears to dissipate after discontinuation of use, our findings emphasize the importance of identifying the potential risks associated with specific forms of contraceptives given the number of available alternatives," study leader Dr. Christopher Li, a breast cancer epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues wrote.
"In the United States, many women have numerous options for contraception, and so it is important to balance their risks and benefits when making contraceptive choices," Li noted in a news release from the research center.
While the study uncovered an association between Depo-Provera and raised breast cancer risk, it could not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
Commenting on the study, Dr. Elizabeth Poynor, a gynecologic oncologist and pelvic surgeon at Lenox H
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