Update 6-2011: Although a few sources still list the pill as protective against cervical cancer, the government cite states that pharmaceutical birth control can significantly raise the risk for cervical cancer:
Evidence shows that long-term use of OCs (5 or more years) may be associated with an increased risk of cancer of the cervix (the narrow, lower portion of the uterus) (12). Although OC use may increase the risk of cervical cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV) is recognized as the major cause of this disease. Approximately 14 types of HPV have been identified as having the potential to cause cancer, and HPVs have been found in 99 percent of cervical cancer biopsy specimens worldwide (12). More information about HPV and cancer is available in Human Papillomaviruses and Cancer: Questions and Answers at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/risk/HPV on the Internet.
A 2003 analysis by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found an increased risk of cervical cancer with longer use of OCs. Researchers analyzed data from 28 studies that included 12,531 women with cervical cancer. The data suggested that the risk of cervical cancer may decrease after OC use stops (13). In another IARC report, data from eight studies were combined to assess the effect of OC use on cervical cancer risk in HPV-positive women. Researchers found a fourfold increase in risk among women who had used OCs for longer than 5 years. Risk was also increased among women who began using OCs before age 20 and women who had used OCs within the past 5 years (14). The IARC is planning a study to reanalyze all data related to OC use and cervical cancer risk (12).
Update 08-2005: The World Health Organization recognized the danger of cervical and ovarian cancer with pharmaceutical estrogen and estrogen/progestin combinations. As of August 2005, the FDA has required new label warnings about this on Prempro and other pharmaceutical birth control medications including the estrogen patch.
Remember the ads for the birth control pill which told us that it protected
women against cervical cancer?
Well, according to the Lancet and a new study reported there, that, too, was a lie. Women who take the pill have a HIGHER RISK of cervical cancer.
Here are the details:
7 Healthcast: The Pill and Cancer
Air Date: 04/04/2003
Reported By: Amy Johnson
Results of a new study show that the birth control pill may be linked to cervical cancer. The report in the journal Lancet finds that women, who take the pill for more than five years, are nearly 60 percent more likely to develop the disease. The risk doubles for those, who take the pill for more than ten years. The findings support earlier research linking the pill to cervical cancer.