Oral contraceptives and family history of breast cancer

Mary E. Gaffield, Kelly R. Culwell, Anita Ravi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: Questions remain regarding whether oral contraceptive (OC) use among women with a family history of breast cancer increases disease risk. Study Design: We conducted a systematic review by searching MEDLINE and CENTRAL databases for evidence (in all languages) published in peer-reviewed journals from 1966 to July 2008 that provided estimates of breast cancer risk according to family history. Twelve articles were identified and the quality of each study was assessed using the United States Preventive Services Task Force grading system. Results: Results from 10 studies and one pooled analysis of 54 studies suggest that the use of OCs does not significantly modify the risk of breast cancer among women with a familial history of breast cancer; however, evidence from four studies shows that some women may be at a greater risk, particularly women who took OCs prior to 1975. Conclusions: Current evidence shows that women with a family history of breast cancer do not increase their disease risk by using OCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-380
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Epidemiology
  • Family history
  • Oral contraceptives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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