New study on hormonal contraceptives uncovered a startling link between certain forms of birth control and a rare type of brain cancer, Fox News reported.
The study, led by Danish neurologist Dr. David Gaist, suggests that women who reported longterm use of progestin-based birth control showed higher rates of glioma, a type brain tumor that affects five in 100,000 people.
The study included more than 317 women between the ages of 15 to 49 years of age who had glioma. Researchers examined the types of contraception used by the women to base their findings. They concluded that those who used progestin-only birth control for more than five years were linked to a higher risk for brain cancer—more than 2.4 times higher than the control group.
They also observed that those who used other types of hormonal birth control had elevated risk of the disease, but to a lesser degree. The study notes that women who had used hormonal contraceptives, regardless of the length of time they used that method of birth control, had a 50 percent higher risk of having brain cancer.
The findings present a link between the contraceptives and brain cancer, but the correlation does not necessarily equate to cause. Dr. Gaist emphasized that while the link was a “statistically significant association,” it does not necessarily outweigh the benefits that hormonal contraceptives supply.