Contraceptive pill associated with increased prostate cancer risk worldwide

November 15, 2011, British Medical Journal

Use of the contraceptive pill is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer around the globe, finds research published in BMJ Open.

Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer in the developed world and the use of the has soared over the past 40 years, say the authors.

The research team used data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the United Nations World Contraceptive Use report to pinpoint rates of prostate cancer and associated deaths and the proportion of women using common methods of for 2007.

They then analysed the data for individual nations and continents worldwide to see if there was any link between use of the contraceptive pill and illness and death caused by prostate cancer.

Their calculations showed that use of intrauterine devices, , or other vaginal barriers was not associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.

But use of the contraceptive pill in the population as a whole was significantly associated with both the number of new cases of, and deaths from, prostate cancer in individual countries around the world, the analysis showed. These findings were not affected by a nation's wealth.

The authors emphasise that their research is speculative and designed to prompt further consideration of the issues. As such, their analysis does not confirm cause and effect, and therefore definitive conclusions cannot be drawn, as yet.

But they refer to several recent studies which have suggested that oestrogen exposure may boost the risk of .

Excess oestrogen exposure is known to cause cancer, and it is thought that widespread use of the Pill might raise environmental levels of endocrine disruptive (EDCs) - which include by-products of oral contraceptive .

These don't break down easily, so can be passed into the urine and end up in the drinking water supply or the , exposing the general population, say the authors.

"Temporal increases in the incidence of certain cancers (breast, endometrial, thyroid, testis and prostate) in hormonally sensitive tissues in many parts of the industrialised world are often cited as evidence that widespread exposure of the general population to EDCs has had adverse impacts on human health," they write.

Explore further: Coffee may reduce risk of lethal prostate cancer in men

Related Stories

Coffee may reduce risk of lethal prostate cancer in men

May 17, 2011
Men who regularly drink coffee appear to have a lower risk of developing a lethal form of prostate cancer, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. What's more, the lower risk was ...

Smoking may increase risk of prostate cancer recurrence, death

June 21, 2011
A new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and University of California, San Francisco, researchers suggests that men with prostate cancer who smoke increase their risk of prostate cancer recurrence and of dying ...

Recommended for you

In most surgery patients, length of opioid prescription, number of refills spell highest risk for misuse

January 17, 2018
The possible link between physicians' opioid prescription patterns and subsequent abuse has occupied the attention of a nation in the throes of an opioid crisis looking for ways to stem what experts have dubbed an epidemic. ...

Patients receive most opioids at the doctor's office, not the ER

January 16, 2018
Around the country, state legislatures and hospitals have tightened emergency room prescribing guidelines for opioids to curb the addiction epidemic, but a new USC study shows that approach diverts attention from the main ...

FDA bans use of opioid-containing cough meds by kids

January 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Trying to put a dent in the ongoing opioid addiction crisis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday slapped strict new restrictions on the use of opioid-containing cold and cough products by kids.

Taking ibuprofen for long periods found to alter human testicular physiology

January 9, 2018
A team of researchers from Denmark and France has found that taking regular doses of the pain reliever ibuprofen over a long period of time can lead to a disorder in men called compensated hypogonadism. In their paper published ...

Nearly one-third of Canadians have used opioids: study

January 9, 2018
Nearly one in three Canadians (29 percent) have used "some form of opioids" in the past five years, according to data released Tuesday as widespread fentanyl overdoses continue to kill.

Growing opioid epidemic forcing more children into foster care

January 8, 2018
The opioid epidemic has become so severe it's considered a national public health emergency. Addiction to prescription painkillers, such as oxycodone and morphine, has contributed to a dramatic rise in overdose deaths and ...

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Idiotboy
not rated yet Nov 16, 2011
Does anyone know if boiling the water will destroy oestrogen and the endocrine disruptive compounds (EDCs)?

So, one way birth control pills work is by killing the males of the species through prostate cancer ...
Sue Ann
not rated yet Nov 16, 2011
Has anyone looked at the correlation with use of unfermented soy products? As I recall, they have a compound that acts like estrogen.
Mezrael
not rated yet Nov 19, 2011
"Contraceptive pill associated with increased prostate cancer risk worldwide

1. Males do not take Contraceptive pills. Because none are on the market.
2. Women do not have a Prostate Gland.
3. This article is Stupid..LOL

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.