BIRTH CONTROL PILLS CAUSE CERVICAL CANCER?

A newspaper report states that a study from Mexico City shows that women who take birth control pills have a much higher incidence of precancerous changes of the cervix, but that doesn't mean that taking birth control pills causes cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer is caused almost exclusively by infection with the human papilloma virus that is transmitted by sexual intercourse. Women who take birth control pills are far more sexually active than women who do not take them. Condoms help prevent transmission of the human papilloma virus, while birth control pills do not. Women who take birth control pills rarely use condoms because they are more concerned about pregnancy than venereal disease. So taking birth control pills increases a woman's chances of getting cervical cancer, but they do not cause cervical cancer.

Oral contraceptive users had an increased risk (odds ratio = 1.31, 95% CI 1.0-2.3) of cervical neoplasia. The evidence for an etiological relationship between oral contraceptive use and dysplastic change in cervical tissue. EL Salazar, I SojoAranda, R Lopez, M Salcedo. Gynecological Endocrinology, 2001, Vol 15, Iss 1, pp 23-28Address. Salazar EL, Univ Invs, Unidad Invest Med Med Reprod, Apartado Postal 86056, Codigo Postal 14291, Mexico City, DF, MEXICO

Reported 4/15/01; checked 9/3/05

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