Journalist: "Why I Stopped Taking the Pill"
In a personal confession last March, Charlie Gowans-Eglinton, a professional journalist, aged 30, confessed that she started using the pill at the age of 13 to treat hormonal acne. When she and her mother saw their doctor in 2006, there was not a word about breast cancer. The Pill, said the doctors, is perfectly safe, as they continued to proscribe Charlie various hormonal pills during the next 15 years.
The first medical professional to warn her about breast cancer was a nurse who advised her to avoid any and all hormonal pills, whether they were progestogen-only and combined with oestrogen. Her doctor, when asked in 2021, replied that there was no absolute proof of a connection of the Pill with breast cancer, so she was “not to worry”. But when her sister was diagnosed with the same disorder that had killed two of her grandmothers and a young aunt, Charlie stop it “on the spot”.
This year, the results of a new study by a team at Oxford University identified a clear link between hormonal contraceptives and breast cancer, 60 years since these pills became freely available from the NHS in 1961. Habitual use of these pills raises the risk of breast cancer, no doubt whatsoever.
Overall, the risk increases as a woman grows older. Since breast cancer is rare in those under 30, the risk is very small in actual numbers. After the age of 30, the risk increases sharply, and the percentage increases in tandem with age. In the age group of women over 50, the risk was the highest. In the UK every year, there are around 56,000 breast cancer cases and 11,500 deaths.