Skip to main content
Oral Contraceptives and Reproductive Cancers: Weighing the Risks and Benefits
CRVAW Faculty Journal Articles
  • Ann L. Coker, University of South Carolina - Columbia
  • Susan Harlap, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • Judith A. Fortney, Family Health International
The hypothetical incidence of reproductive cancers resulting from oral contraceptive use was estimated in several models comparing the cumulative lifetime incidence of cancer of the breast, cervix, ovary and endometrium expected in pill users with the incidence expected in nonusers. The potential number of cancer-free days that would be gained or lost by pill users was com- pared with similar estimates among nonusers. If five years or more of pill use were associated with a 20% increase in the risk of breast cancerbeing diagnosed before age 50, a 20% increase in cervical cancer risk and a 50% reduction in the risks of ovarian and endometrial cancers, then every 100,000 pill users would experience 44 fewer reproductive cancers during their lifetime than would nonusers, and would gain one more day free of cancer. If higher estimates of the five-yearpill-associated risks of breast and cervical cancer are used-a 50% increased risk of each, for example-then pill users would experience more reproductive cancers than nonusers and would have 11 fewer cancer-free days of life.
Document Type
Publication Date
Notes/Citation Information

Published in Family Planning Perspectives, v. 25, no. 1, p. 17-21.

Dr. Ann Coker had not been a faculty member of the University of Kentucky at the time of publication.

Citation Information
Ann L. Coker, Susan Harlap and Judith A. Fortney. "Oral Contraceptives and Reproductive Cancers: Weighing the Risks and Benefits" (1993)
Available at: