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Cancer Causes Control. 1995 Jul;6(4):321-31.

Oral contraceptive use and breast cancer risk among African-American women.

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Slone Epidemiology Unit, School of Public Health, Boston University School of Medicine, Brookline, MA, USA.


Recent epidemiologic studies, most of them in predominantly White populations, have suggested that long duration of oral contraceptive (OC) use may increase the risk of breast cancer at young ages. We assessed the relationship of OC use to the risk of breast cancer in African-American women aged 25 to 59 years, using interview data from a multipurpose hospital-based case-control study. Five hundred and twenty-four cases hospitalized for invasive breast cancer were compared with 1,021 controls with nonmalignant conditions unrelated to OC use. Relative risks (RR) and 95 percent confidence intervals (CI) were estimated relative to a reference category of use for less than 12 months; potential confounders were controlled by multiple logistic regression analysis. Among women under age 45, three or more years of OC use was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer: the RR estimate was 2.8 (CI = 1.5-5.0) for three to four years of use, and declined to 1.5 (CI = 08.3.0) for 10 or more years of use. Recency and timing of use did not explain the observed association. Among women aged 45 to 59, OC use was associated with little or no increase in risk: the RR estimate for three or more years of use was 1.3 (CI = 0.7-2.4). The findings add to the evidence from studies of White women and a recent study of Black women which have suggested an increased risk of breast cancer at young ages for moderate or long duration use of OCs.

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