Tuesday, March 6, 2012

U.S. government candidly admits oral contraception increases risk of cancer in women

The National Cancer Institute has an informational web page called Oral Contraceptives and Cancer Risk: Questions and Answers. On that page is the startling summary*:

Because medical research suggests that some cancers depend on naturally occurring sex hormones for their development and growth, scientists have been investigating a possible link between OC use and cancer risk. Researchers have focused a great deal of attention on OC users over the past 40 years. This scrutiny has produced a wealth of data on OC use and the development of certain cancers, although results of these studies have not always been consistent. The risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers is reduced with the use of OCs, while the risk of breast and cervical cancers is increased.
And to top it off, the article later goes on to say oral contraceptives also increase the risk for liver cancer in women otherwise considered low risk.

We are all well aware now of the federal government's controversial demand to force religious and other entities to pay henceforth for all FDA-approved contraceptives desired by their insured employees, even if such action violates the consciences, the right of religious liberty, of those entities. What's more, the National Cancer Institute that made the statements above is part of the larger group of the National Institutes of Health––which in turn is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

That's right. It seems the same HHS trying to force religious and other entities to pay for universal contraception in the name of "women's rights" also claims that hormonal oral contraceptives increase the risk of several forms of cancer in women.

I know I heard repeated statements during the February 16 House Committee on Oversight hearing by supporters of the current HHS mandate that oral contraceptives help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer according to medical studies. They did not mention the HHS' medical studies regarding the increased risk of breast, cervical, and liver cancer in women linked with use of oral contraceptives.

Are supporters of so-called "free" contraception so politically or socially eager to push this HHS mandate that they will ignore or bury the same HHS' claim that numerous studies link oral contraception to cancer in women? And that's just the scientific side of contraception, not the moral. (The HHS mandate itself is an issue of religious freedom.)

Have we been sold OC's medical benefits to ovarian cancer while being turned away from the detrimental effects of other cancers? It seems the people have been told, "Come into my fire, I promise you won't freeze."

*[Update Oct. 11, 2012] On March 21, 2012, it seems the NCI updated the page I quoted and removed the quote as it was worded. This blog post was originally made March 6. The current version at NCI still includes similar language to that which I quoted. It now reads: "Overall, however, the risks of endometrial and ovarian cancer appear to be reduced with the use of oral contraceptives, whereas the risks of breast, cervical, and liver cancer appear to be increased." To see an archived version of the NCI page with my original quote, visit this archive.org filing of the NCI page from July 2011.

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