Birth Control Archive

April 2006: Birth Control

CDC Releases a New HPV Fact Sheet for Men

WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer says OCs and HRT Can Cause Breast Cancer

New British Birth Control Pill ‘Within 5 Years’ May Contain RU 486

CDC RELEASES NEW HPV FACT SHEET FOR MEN, 30Mar2006. The CDC has released a new fact sheet for HVP & men: http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFACT-HPV-and-men.htm

WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has announced that oral contraceptives and post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy can cause breast cancer in women (Ciarcmonograph, Vol. 91, Jan 2006).

Prior to this, these hormones had been listed as “possibly carcinogenic”. Now they have been labeled “definitely carcinogenic”. The cancers involved are primarily breast but also liver and cervical cancers. With this, this agency also announced that these hormones do lower the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. [J. Willke, MD, Cincinnati Right to Life, 3/06]

NEW BIRTH CONTROL PILL ‘WITHIN 5 YEARS’. A contraceptive pill with the potential to reduce the risk of breast cancer could be available to British women within five years, researchers have said.

While the current pill is popular and used by millions of women, many remain concerned about possible links with breast cancer and blood clots. Now a pill being developed by researchers at Edinburgh University could stop periods and reverse these health risks.

But it could prove controversial, as it contains the drug mifepristone, also known as RU486, which is used to induce abortions.
Professor David Baird, emeritus professor of reproductive endocrinology at Edinburgh, said the research team hoped to persuade a pharmaceutical company to develop the pill. This might not happen with mifepristone but with other agents that acted in a similar way.

Next month marks the 50th anniversary of the first clinical trials of the contraceptive pill, which led to a sexual revolution in the early 1960s.
But Prof Baird said that in recent years, contraception had fallen off the national and international priority list. “Many people have taken it for granted that we have access to safe and effective contraception, but various issues still need to be addressed in the next 20 years,” he said. “Although the pill is highly effective and safe, there is still a problem with people remembering to take it, and it doesn’t suit everyone.

“There can be side-effects, such as an increased risk of breast cancer or thrombosis. It is theoretically possible to design a type of pill that is not only safe but also protects against these long-term risks.”

The combined pill in use today combines the hormones estrogen and progesterone to stop eggs being released from the ovaries. Some of the side-effects are thought to be linked to the actions of these hormones. The new pill works differently, by blocking progesterone, which prepares the body for pregnancy.

Prof Baird said stopping this hormone should cut the cancer risk. In addition, the pill would stop women having periods, which cause high levels of hormones to circulate in the body, and would therefore also be of benefit to woman who suffer from premenstrual syndrome.
“Women who don’t take any pills have quite a high risk of developing breast cancer,” Prof Baird said. “If you reduce the cyclical exposure of the ovary to the ovarian hormones oestrogen and progesterone, you should reduce the risk of breast cancer.”

But it could be 20 to 30 years before scientists know whether the new pill cuts the risk, after it is used by large numbers.

After nine years of studies involving about 100 women, including some in Edinburgh, Asia and Africa, Prof Baird said the pill had been shown to be successful as a contraceptive, with “very few” side-effects. He accepted there might be concern at the use of an abortion drug in a contraceptive.

“But this pill uses a 100 times lower dose than that used to induce an abortion,” he said. Jeremy Hughes, the chief executive of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity, said: “Large, long-term studies are needed to determine the effects, if any.”

Thinking again on use of pill
WHEN Jo Menzer’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer she began to look back at her own past use of the contraceptive pill in a different light.

Ms Menzer, 31, a charity administrator, was taken off the pill she was using by her doctor about five years ago amid fears that certain types of the contraceptive were linked to an increased cancer risk.
Ms Menzer, who lives in Glasgow’s West End, said after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer last year it made her think differently about many aspects of her life. She said she was unsure whether she would start using an oral contraceptive again.

“I would probably do some further research into it. What has happened to my mum has made me look at every area of my life and what I put into my body.”

Comment: “Emergency contraception” is being used against pharmacists’ conscience rights and the excuse used is that it’s not an abortion (even though abortion supporters have changed the definition from conception to implantation). Now what are they going to do with a “safer birth control pill” that actually contains RU-486? We need conscience rights enforced for all health care professionals! NV Related: Breast cancer  http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=567; Cancer research http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=115
[http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=478292006, 28-Mar-06, L. Moss ; comments by N Valko RN 28Mar06]