Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women; approximately 1 in 8 women will develop the disease within her lifetime. Now, research indicates that alcohol can increase that risk. Experts have long suspected alcohol to be a risk factor for breast cancer; a new study research suggests alcohol is most strongly linked to certain types of breast tumors. Women who drank one alcoholic beverage a day were found to be at higher risk for developing estrogen receptor- and progesterone receptor-positive breast cancers. (Such hormone-sensitive cancers are grow slightly slower and respond better to hormone suppression treatment than hormone-negative cancers.) Alcohol consumption was also connected with an increased risk for non-invasive breast cancers, but not for invasive tumors. Alcohol may not be the only factor, but this finding may spur further research on other breast cancer risk factors.
Journal of National Cancer Institute, August 2010
Women can protect themselves significantly from unplanned pregnancies as well as sexually transmitted infections (STI) by using condoms in addition to another method of family planning. An analysis of data from the National Survey of Family Growth indicates that 80% of unplanned pregnancies could be prevented if half the women using an effective method of birth control (IUD, injectable, implant, Pill or patch) practiced dual contraception (condoms plus their regular family planning method). This would lead to a 40% decline in both unplanned pregnancies and abortions and result in 393,000 fewer unplanned pregnancies and 76,000 fewer abortions annually. Women who use the IUD, injectables (like Depo), or contraceptive implants are less likely than women who use the Pill or patch to practice dual contraception (15% and 2% vs. 18%, respectively). To promote dual contraception, efforts are needed to reduce stigma associated with condom use and encourage women to insist on safe sex.
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, June 2010
In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued revised labeling rules for the contraceptive Depo Provera, to highlight the fact that prolonged use may result in significant loss of bone density. The longer a woman uses Depo, the more likely she is to lose calcium and experience problems that can include osteoporosis. New research quantifies a woman’s likelihood of experiencing bone fractures. Women who were currently Depo and had filled 1-2 prescriptions had an 18% greater likelihood of having a bone fracture than women who were not using the contactptive. Women who had filled 3-9 Depo prescriptions were at 36% increased risk for fractures, while women who had filled 10 or more prescriptions were at 54% increased risk. The greatest increase in fractures was seen among current Depo Provera users who had used the contraceptive for over two years.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, August 2010