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The World in Medicine
January 8, 2003

Breast Cancer Risk

JAMA. 2003;289(2):164. doi:10.1001/jama.289.2.164-c

Women with gene mutations that increase their likelihood of developing breast cancer have an even greater risk if they used oral contraceptives at an early age or before 1975, according to new findings by researchers at the University of Toronto, in Ontario (J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002;94:1773-1779).

Women with mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have a 50% to 80% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. To determine whether oral contraceptive use influences that risk, the researchers performed a case-control study on 1311 pairs of women who were carriers of deleterious mutations in one or both of these genes, half of whom had breast cancer and half of whom did not.