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Oral Contraceptive Use

Oral Contraceptive Use and BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutations

Oral Contraceptive Use and Ovarian Cancer Risk Among Carriers of BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutations

British Journal of Cancer, 2004

AS Whittemore, RR Balise, PDP Pharoah, RA DiCioccio, Kathleen Cuningham Foundation Consortium for Research into Familial Breast Cancer, I Oakley-Girvan, SJ Ramus, M Daly, MB Usinowicz, K Garlinghouse-Jones, BAJ Ponder, S Buys, I Andrulis, E John, JL Hopper, and MS Piver

Use of oral contraceptives has been linked to a decreased risk of many types of ovarian cancer. But do patients who carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations fall into the same category? A 2004 study that included researchers and data from the Gilda Radner Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry explored whether use of oral birth control over several years could reduce the risk of ovarian cancer in patients who carry these mutations.

By studying the history of lifetime oral contraceptive use by patients with these genetic mutations, scientists were able to determine that their risk of ovarian cancer decreased by 5 percent for each year of use. These findings were similar to risk factors for patients using oral contraceptives who did not have the genetic mutation. Understanding the relationship between oral contraceptive use and risk of ovarian cancer can help doctors screen patients for the disease and could even be used as a preventative measure in some cases where a family history of ovarian cancer exists.