Mirena and Breast Cancer: Is There A Link?
Over the years there has been a lot of studies have been carried out about breast cancer. And that, of course, is because of the increasing rate of cases among women. People have come with so many ideas as to what can increase the risk of a woman having breast cancer. And one that people came up with is the use of contraceptives. As untrue as this may sound many studies have been carried out to prove and disprove this idea. That’s why today we will be looking at Mirena and breast cancer. Is there any link between these two?
First off, what is Mirena? So Mirena is an intrauterine device that happens to be a form of contraceptive. This device releases a hormone known as levonorgestrel. This hormone is the synthetic form of progesterone. And people use it for both medical and contraceptive purposes. Some studies say there is a link between Mirena and cancer of the breast. But the truth is many of these studies are limited as to the research. So more studies and research is needed to be able to confirm that there is indeed a link. Well, let’s take a look at the link (if there is any) between having breast cancer and hormones.
Hormones and Breast Cancer
One thing we must bear in mind is that there has always been a link between breast cancer and hormones. It is believed that cancer of the breast can be aggravated by certain hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. Also, certain breast cancers are believed to be caused by proteins such as HER2 protein. In many breast cancer cases, there is the involvement of these three. And in some other cases, there is no involvement at all.
Let’s take a look at the percentage of breast cancers according to the hormonal effect.
- 80% of breast cancers are estrogen receptor-positive
- 65% of breast cancers are estrogen and progesterone receptor-positive
- 25% of breast cancers are negative for both
- 13% of breast cancers are estrogen receptor-positive but progesterone receptor-negative
- 2% of breast cancers are progesterone receptor-positive but estrogen receptor-negative
So from this, we can say there is an obvious link between hormones and cancer of the breast. But the question is, is there a link between breast cancer and synthetic hormones? This is one question that so many experts have been trying to answer for years.
Mirena and Breast Cancer
There are many reports on this topic. And different reports have varying results as to how Mirena and cancer of the breast are linked. that’s why it was mentioned earlier that more research, as well as studies, is needed. But as of now, studies show that there might be a link.
It is stated in the insert found in the Mirena package states that women that have breast cancer and those who suspect that they have, shouldn’t use it. Because breast cancer is hormone-sensitive. And being hormone-sensitive can cause a spike in growth with the use of this product. Some people have reported spontaneous breast cancer after the use of Mirena but the evidence is little.
Let’s take a look at some of the studies that were carried out on Mirena over the past couple of years.
- In 2005 a post-marketing survey that was carried out on IUDs that release levonorgestrel and a risk of causing breast cancer was not found.
- In 2011 there was a retrospective study was carried out and there was no link found between an increase in the risk of having breast cancer because of the use of contraceptives that are levonorgestrel-releasing.
- In 2014, an observational study was carried out and it found out that there is a higher risk of having breast cancer when using IUDs that release levonorgestrel.
- In 2015 as well a study was carried out and it indicated an increased risk with the use of levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs.
So as you can see there are mixed results that leave us with an indefinite answer as well.
Some people believe that Mirena can reduce the risk of having breast cancer. No evidence supports this claim. Some studies have been carried out and some show that it reduced the risk of having some other cancer types. Such as ovarian, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers. But even for this more studies are still needed.
So the big question is, is there any link between Mirena and having breast cancer? The answer to that is maybe. We can’t conclude until there are definite and similar results from many studies.
Can Other Contraceptives Cause Cancer?
This has become a topic of debate for some time now. So there’s an idea that oral contraceptives might increase the risk of a person having breast cancer. Oral contraceptives contain progesterone or estrogen or even both. So there are chances that it increases the risk of having breast cancer.
The thing though is that many of the studies that have been carried out at inconsistent. And because of that, a conclusion has not been reached as to the effects of contraceptives on breast cancer.
Take note that some risk factors that other than this increase the risk of a person having breast cancer. Such as family history, hormone therapy, early menstruation at a young age, late menopausal age, and a few others.
Anyone with any of these above risk factors would have way higher chances of having breast cancer with the use of contraceptives. So you have to be careful when choosing the contraceptive method and type.
Make sure that you inform your doctor and ask for advice as well. Your doctor would be able to guide you as to which of the options is best for you. With that, you can also reduce the chances of having breast cancer.
So to wrap it all up, remember that prevention is better than cure. Using Mirena might increase the chances of you having breast cancer. Even though it’s not definite you must avoid whatever can cause breast cancer. The best option you have is to talk to your doctor about it. Your doctor would be able to guide you well as to steps to take.