Medications, Health History and Cancer Risk
Certain medical conditions and medications can increase cancer risk. These articles address some of those concerns.
Birth control pills (BCPs) have been found to cause a small increase in breast and cervical cancer risk and a decreased risk of endometrial, ovarian and colorectal cancers among users.
While radiation is most often used to treat cancer, there are several non-cancerous conditions that may be treated with radiation and this treatment carries a cancer risk.
DES was the first synthetic estrogen and was given to pregnant women from 1938-1971 to prevent miscarriages. It was found to cause health issues for the women who took DES and for the children born of these pregnancies (called DES daughters, DES sons).
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was commonly prescribed for menopausal women to reduce hot flashes, vaginal dryness and risk of bone fractures and heart disease. In July 2002, a large study found that HRT was doing more harm than good, causing breast cancer, heart disease and strokes.
Certain pieces of a woman’s health history can mean that her risk of developing breast cancer is higher. For most women, these are not factors that can be changed, but many women want to know about risks that may exist.
People who have had solid organ transplants (lung, heart, liver, kidney) have a higher risk of developing cancer, most often due to immunosuppressive medications used to prevent rejection, as well as infection with viruses known to cause cancer (HPV, Epstein Barr, H. Pylori).
This condition is an abnormal overgrowth of cells in the breast tissue. It is not cancer, but increases the risk of breast cancer in the future.