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Birth control pills and liver cancer

Birth control pills and liver cancer are the subject of scientific debates and several research studies. Before we start discussion about links between birth control pills and liver cancer, it is important to understand how birth control pills are working.

Birth control pills contain two hormones – estrogen and progestin in various combinations. Actually contraceptive pills contain synthetic analogs of women natural sex hormones which are produced in the ovary of each woman. Each tablet is combination of estrogen and progestin hormone-like synthetic components.

The contraceptive effect of combined birth control pills is based on few mechanisms of action:

  • They suppress ovulation (maturation and release of an egg in ovaries);
  • Pills thickening the mucus in the cervix (creating barriers and making impossible active sperm invasion);
  • Pills change the lining of the uterus (making impossible attachment and fixation of fertilized egg in the uterus);
  • Pills reduce sperm ability and capacity to move in the Fallopian tubes.

The combination of all these factors makes birth control pill very reliable and effective method in preventing unwanted pregnancy. However, despite a number of positive effects, contraceptive pills can increase the risk of developing liver cancer.

The risk of liver cancer is increased in women who take birth control pills and are otherwise considered low risk for the disease.

Birth control pills and liver cancer

Birth control pills and liver cancer – How do Birth control pills affect liver cancer risk?

Several studies have found that pills increase the risk of liver cancer in populations usually considered low risk, such as white women in the United States and Europe who do not have liver disease. In these studies, women who used pills for longer periods of time were found to be at increased risk for liver cancer. However, pills did not increase the risk of liver cancer in Asian and African women, who are considered high risk for this disease. Researchers believe this is because other risk factors, such as hepatitis infection, outweigh the effect of pills.

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