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Birth Control Pills and Prostate Cancer

A new study suggests a possible link between the use of oral contraceptives and rising prostate cancer rates.

By | November 16, 2011

Ortho Tri-Cyclen oral contraceptivesWIKIMEDIA COMMONS, BETTEDAVISEYES

In some regions of the world, increased use of oral contraceptives may be associated with driving up rates of prostate cancer, according to a paper published this week in BMJ Open. Canadian researchers found a significant positive relationship between 2007 data on contraceptive use and global prostate cancer rates from the same year, with the strongest relationship showing up in Europe. No such relationship was found between prostate cancer and the use of other contraceptives, such as condoms and intrauterine devices.

The scientists suggested that hormones, especially estrogen, from the urine of people taking the pills may be leaching into the environment and contaminating drinking water or food supplies. Estrogen by-products are known to spur the growth of some tumors. But the Toronto University researchers, David Margel and Neil Fleshner, who authored the report, are quick to point out that their data reveal only an interesting correlation and not a causal link. Their study "must be considered hypothesis generating, and thought provoking," they wrote in the paper.

Some experts are still more dubious of the results. "Comparing the rates of two apparently unrelated issues across countries is a notoriously unreliable way of establishing whether they are truly linked," Cancer Research UK spokesperson Jessica Harris told BBC News. "So many things vary between different countries that it's impossible to say whether one thing is causing the other."

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Comments

Avatar of: jhnycmltly

jhnycmltly

Posts: 65

November 17, 2011

One theory of the problem with birth control pills is they slow or stop completely the menses. The theory being the menses lower the iron levels in the body by losing an amount of iron everytime one bleeds. This iron level rises due to the LACK of iron lowering bleeding. Is the prostate cancer linked to iron levels ?
"Iron intake, oxidative stress-related genes (MnSOD and MPO), and prostate cancer risk in CARET cohort."
"Higher iron intake may be associated with risk of clinically aggressive prostate cancer"

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

November 17, 2011

One theory of the problem with birth control pills is they slow or stop completely the menses. The theory being the menses lower the iron levels in the body by losing an amount of iron everytime one bleeds. This iron level rises due to the LACK of iron lowering bleeding. Is the prostate cancer linked to iron levels ?
"Iron intake, oxidative stress-related genes (MnSOD and MPO), and prostate cancer risk in CARET cohort."
"Higher iron intake may be associated with risk of clinically aggressive prostate cancer"

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

November 17, 2011

One theory of the problem with birth control pills is they slow or stop completely the menses. The theory being the menses lower the iron levels in the body by losing an amount of iron everytime one bleeds. This iron level rises due to the LACK of iron lowering bleeding. Is the prostate cancer linked to iron levels ?
"Iron intake, oxidative stress-related genes (MnSOD and MPO), and prostate cancer risk in CARET cohort."
"Higher iron intake may be associated with risk of clinically aggressive prostate cancer"

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

November 18, 2011

On the face of it, the suggestion looks ridiculous, if not outrageous. Does it mean, for example, that if some woman (of course, men do not NORMALLY take contraceptive pills) living in my neighbourhood took contraceptive pills, it increases the risk of prostate cancer for all men here? If the said "Canadian scientists" had studed the incidence of prostate cancer in children (male children, of course) of women who took or were taking contraceptive pills, they might have found something of possible value. 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

November 18, 2011

On the face of it, the suggestion looks ridiculous, if not outrageous. Does it mean, for example, that if some woman (of course, men do not NORMALLY take contraceptive pills) living in my neighbourhood took contraceptive pills, it increases the risk of prostate cancer for all men here? If the said "Canadian scientists" had studed the incidence of prostate cancer in children (male children, of course) of women who took or were taking contraceptive pills, they might have found something of possible value. 

Avatar of: TS Raman

TS Raman

Posts: 5

November 18, 2011

On the face of it, the suggestion looks ridiculous, if not outrageous. Does it mean, for example, that if some woman (of course, men do not NORMALLY take contraceptive pills) living in my neighbourhood took contraceptive pills, it increases the risk of prostate cancer for all men here? If the said "Canadian scientists" had studed the incidence of prostate cancer in children (male children, of course) of women who took or were taking contraceptive pills, they might have found something of possible value. 

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