Have you ever felt like sometimes you just do not know which way to turn? Have you ever had something to come up and you just wondered, do I or do I not? What is the best to do? What is the risk versus the benefits? Yes, I’m sure you have because we all have. Well, here is something else to ponder and do your research on, especially if you are a female and not ready to expand your family right now.
On January 22, 2015, the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published a study on the association between hormonal contraceptives and an increase risk for brain cancer. This was a Danish nationwide case-controlled study.
The study used Danish administrative and health registries. Their job was to identify all females 15 to 49 years old who had been diagnosed with glioma brain cancer from 2000 to 2009. There were 2,483 case subjects. That’s a lot of females to study. Men, wouldn’t you hate to have that job?
The study proved there is a much higher risk for glioma brain cancer) in those using or had used hormonal contraception. Most importantly, the study proved that females currently using birth control pills were at much higher risk than past users.
The study pointed out that progesterone exposure was associated with the greatest increase for risk of glioma. They explained that, “Progesterone increases proliferation of high-grade astrocytoma cell lines, as well as growth factor levels, which is in line with increased progesterone receptor protein mRNA with glioma grade.” I know, that’s a lot of big medical words. Let me see if I can break it down for you. The hormone called Progesterone increased a high amount of abnormal cell division, especially the astrocytoma type cells. Astrocytoma cells are a certain type of abnormal cancer cells that spreads like fingers all over the brain.
Dr Brittany Charlton, ScD, a postdoctorate research fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, worked with the same Danish registry data on unrelated research dealing with contraceptives. She explained that contraceptives have changed over time. Dr Charlton stated, “Doses of estrogen have changed, progestins have been added, patterns of use have changed with the elimination of placebo pills, and hormonal IUDs have been introduced.”
Ladies, thats the latest study out that I know of on contraceptives and brain cancer. To my knowledge, the study was not paid for by any pharmaceutical organization, hospital, or “for profit” organization. That helps me to believe I can trust it to be a true study.
-Dr Fredda Branyon