Specialist surgeon, Dr Justus Apffelstaedt, schools us on the most important points to note about recent studies linking breast cancer risk to birth control devices.
Dr Justus Apffelstaedt is a specialist surgeon particularly focused on breast, thyroid and parathyroid health management, as well as soft tissue surgical oncology.
Dr Apffelstaedt’s aim is to bring the latest information about breast, thyroid and parathyroid health matters within everyone’s grasp. He recently shared his comments regarding the hot debate over whether there is a link between breast cancer risk and birth control devices.
The debate was prompted by a study conducted in Finland and published in 2014 which revealed links between the use of progestogen containing IUDs and the increased risk of recipients developing breast cancer.
During the study, data was collected from over 90 000 Finnish women between the ages of 30 and 49 who, from 1994 – 2007 had received a progestogen-releasing IUD. That data was compared to the Finnish Cancer Registry data to pick up the frequency of breast cancer risk diagnoses in progestogen-releasing IUD users.
In order to help South African women use the information from this study to make informed decisions about hormonal birth control method choices, Dr Apffelstaedt has shared his 4 key insights to consider about the results of the study. Take a look at them below.
The most important points to consider are
The breast cancer risk is time-dependent and only increases after 5 years of using a hormone-releasing IUD.
If you are above the age of 40, even if you have no significant risk factors such as cancer in your family, you should go for mammographic screening.
If you have breast cancer in your family, speak to your gynaecologist about exploring non-hormonal contraceptive options.
There is currently no concrete data on whether removing the device will return the risk profile to normal. While the risk may subside, it will still remain elevated in comparison with pre-insertion levels.