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Psychooncology. 2013 Jan;22(1):228-32. doi: 10.1002/pon.2049. Epub 2011 Sep 9.

Oral contraceptive use in women at increased risk of breast/ovarian cancer: knowledge and attitudes.

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  • 1Faculty of Medicine, University of NSW, Australia.



Several of the health benefits and risks associated with the combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP) are particularly relevant to women at risk of hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer.


Eighty-three past female patients of an Australian hereditary cancer clinic aged 18-50 years completed a self-report questionnaire to assess their contraceptive practices, knowledge and information needs (44% response rate).


Ninety-two percent of participants had previously used the COCP, with a mean knowledge score of 3.63 out of 8. Nearly 40% reported that their family history of cancer was one reason they discontinued/avoided using the COCP. Women reported receiving insufficient COCP information and preferred a targeted information leaflet to answer their questions.


Although recall bias may have affected some women, there is a clear need to improve the consistency of information delivered to women at risk of hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer, to ensure informed contraceptive choices are made.

Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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