Oct. 13, 2000
Burke authors JAMA editorial on oral contraceptives
Her commentary in the Oct. 11 issue accompanied a report by researchers at the Mayo Clinic. Their results suggest an elevated risk of breast cancer among women who have used earlier, higher-dose oral contraceptives and whose mothers or sisters had the disease.
Burke wrote that the findings answer some questions and raise others. Is this untoward effect of oral contraceptives specific to women with certain genetic risks, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, or is it applicable to all women with an immediate family history? Do newer, lower-dose oral contraceptives also pose risks for daughters and sisters of breast cancer patients?
Burke concludes that women at high risk should pay careful attention to what is known or not known when examining their options. She noted that decisions about oral contraceptive use should be made on an individual basis by taking into account the baseline risk for risk for breast and ovarian cancer, alternative strategies for cancer risk reduction, and benefits oral contraceptives may provide.
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