Does it increase your risk of cancer?
Contraceptive pills which contains oestrogen have been found to cause a slight increase in your risk of breast cancer. Women who take the pill have also been found to have a slightly higher risk of cervical cancer. However, it is not entirely clear whether this is caused by the pill or different sexual behaviour. Women who take the pill may be inclined to rely on the pill instead of condoms, which leaves them vulnerable to catching hpv, a virus which can cause cervical cancer.
At the same time, the contraceptive pill appears to protect against ovarian cancer, bowel cancer and cancer of the womb to a certain degree. Preliminary research results indicate that women who have been taking the pill may be 20% less likely to contract bowel cancer.
What does that mean for me?
If you have a family history of cancer or know that you have a high risk of cancer (for example because you have already had it) your GP may not recommend that you take a pill which contains oestrogen.
The slight increase in your cancer risk is not permanent and within ten years of taking the pill, it returns to normal.