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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1981 Nov;67(5):1011-5.

A prospective cohort study of oral contraceptives and breast cancer.


In 1970 a questionnaire was sent to 97,300 married women aged 25-50 years residing in eastern Massachusetts information was requested on use of oral contraceptives (OC), education, and gynecologic and reproductive histories. Subsequent questionnaires were sent in 1973 and 1979 to a subset of the original cohort (37,000) to obtain recent information. Surveillance of 34 hospitals disclosed 622 cases of breast cancer among respondents diagnosed in a 6 1/2-year period. The rate ratio of breast cancer associated with any use of OC was 0.84 (95% confidence limits: 0.7, 1.1). Although certain subgroups users experienced significantly lower rates of hospitalization for breast cancer than did nonusers (including users aged 25-29, those for whom less than or equal to 5 yr had passed since first use, women with ages at birth of first child either before 25 or after 30, and women who first used OC after the birth of the first child), the risk of breast cancer OC after the birth of the first child), the risk of breast cancer was not consistently lower among users of OC. Among nulliparous women, the rate ratio associated with use of OC was 2.1 (0.9, 5.0).

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