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Have you ever heard of this before?

One of my dearest friends that I have known since middle school was given some odd information from her doctor today.

As a background, my friend does not use any hormonal form of BC (idk about condoms, but that is irrelevant) and hasn't in a few years.  She has a history of endometriosis, but it was resolved a few years ago.  Well, she hasn't had her period since December.  Obviously she wondered if she was pregnant.  Her and her H wanted to wait a few years, but I know it wouldn't have been the end of the world.  Tests came back negative.  She made an appointment with a GYN that finally happened today.

The GYN more or less told her
A) She needed to go back on the pill
B) If she didn't, she will most likely get ovarian cancer (no it does not run in her family)
C) When her and her H do want to TTC, they will have a hard time at it.

These three points were told to her after a VERY quick exam and even quicker chat. 
I have never in my life heard that you NEED to go on the pill or you'll get cancer.  I thought hte pill UPPED your risk for cancer? 

I told her she should heavily consider seeing a different doc when she goes in for her tests.. I also recommended she try to find one that specializes in NFP and/or more natural ways to cure things than "hey go on the pill".

Idk if it's just the NFP side and/or the side of me that is protective of her, but I just find this totally odd.  Any suggestions?

Re: Have you ever heard of this before?

  • My gyn told me that after being on BC for 8 continuously for years, a woman's risk of ovarian cancer goes down to virtually 0. That being said the Dr lacks serious bedside manner. Hope she can find someone a bit more compassionate.
  • I would highly recommend a second opinion (from a NFP friendly doctor if possible). None of this seems as cut and dry as this doctor is making it seem to be.
  • Hormonal birth control has been showed to reduce risk of ovarian cancer in patients with special conditions, however it does increase risk of breast cancer across the board. I definitely would get a second oppinion, though. Usually doctors will prescribe the pill just because it is easier to take one pill every day than to figure out exactly which hormones are out of whack, and when they need to be taken during the cycle.
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  • Does she currently have problems associated with the endometriosis or is it something else?  It sounds a lot like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which is commonly treated by going on the pill (my FSIL had to do this).  People with PCOS do have trouble conceiving because their natural hormone secretion is affected (this is why the pill is recommended as treatment).  I do not know if cancer is a possibility, but any doctor that says "you will probably get cancer" would not be a doctor I would go to again.  Taking the pill does not increase the risk of cancer. 
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  • PCOS is best treated with Metformin. 

    The pill is a group 1 carcinogen. It does absolutely increase the risk of cancer. 
  • newlyseliskinewlyseliski member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited April 2012
    In Response to Re: Have you ever heard of this before?:
    [QUOTE]PCOS is best treated with Metformin.  The pill is a group 1 carcinogen. It does absolutely increase the risk of cancer. 
    Posted by agapecarrie[/QUOTE]

    Ditto this.  I've had PCOS for 10 years.  Early on, it was manifested by going for months without a period... a 9 month stretch at the longest!  I was also initially put on the pill with little to no examination of any hormonal imbalances in order to just get my cycle moving again.  Really long cycles can cause the endometrial lining to build up in an unhealthy manner and increase risk of cancer... so I can understand the doctor wanting to get the cycle moving again by prescribing the pill.  However, I switched doctors because I wasn't comfortable with being on the pill, preventing ovulation indefinitely and leaving whatever my underlying condition was untreated... I was put on metformin which has helped significantly with shortening and somewhat normalizing my cycles.   Metformin isn't a cure-all... but it does help a lot of women who have PCOS!  NFP charting and more thorough testing (especially with a NFP-familiar doctor and/or gynecologist) would probably be a better route to take than the cursory "band-aid" of ABC. 
  • I don't have a link to back this up - I feel like I heard it in Janet Smith's "Contraception: Why Not?" - but I think I heard that giving birth one child (at least) gives you the same cancer protection as taking the pill for at least 8 years. So you do the math on that one. And I agree with others that this doctor sounds wack.
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  • Agape is absolutely right, oral contraceptives are group 1 carcinogens. They're right on the list with asbestos and tobacco
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  • In Response to Re: Have you ever heard of this before?:
    [QUOTE]I don't have a link to back this up - I feel like I heard it in Janet Smith's "Contraception: Why Not?" - but I think I heard that giving birth one child (at least) gives you the same cancer protection as taking the pill for at least 8 years . So you do the math on that one. And I agree with others that this doctor sounds wack.
    Posted by TeaForMe[/QUOTE]

    THIS.  The pill can reduce your chances for ovarian cancer, but it increases your chance of breast cancer.  And having a baby reduced your chances for ovarian cancer far more than the pill does.

    I think this woman needs a second opinion.

    SaveSave
  • Ditto others. It sounds like there is something going on. I would definitely get a second opinion and ask for an actual diagnosis (not just a "remedy").

    There are definitely doctors (usually of the throw-the-pill-at-everything variety) who only hear the increased protection against ovarian cancer (and really push women onto the pill because of it) and don't hear, or ignore any of the other caveats. For example, my H's terrible GYN unit was taught by a feminist pill-pusher type (with some extra misinformation about NFP on the side), who basically said that every woman should be on the pill for its cancer protection (unless TTC). Never mind that you are putting them at higher breast cancer risk.

    I find that ignoring the increased breast cancer risk is particularly annoying, because I do have a family history of breast cancer. That alone is reason for me to not touch the stuff, but I can't imagine a non-NFP doc telling me that.
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  • Forget the pill, I wouldn't suggest any of us return to any doctor who tells us "do X or dire consequences will occur" without any attempt at explanation. It could be that there really is some terrible risk of this woman getting ovarian cancer. But why on earth is she going to believe him or follow his recomendations if all he does is threaten her with it, and not explain to her what's going on in her own body?
  • I agree 100% that she should not go on the pill, it will only cover things.  But beyond that I suggest she sees a NaPro doc, I have no personal experience but have heard amazing things!
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  • Regarding NFP-treatment of PCOS:  I've recently been diagnosed after sporadically missing my period for up to 9 months at a time.  My ob/gyn recommended the pill, saying that I was at an increased risk of uterine cancer due to the increased build-up of the endometrium and mocked my refusal on religious grounds (the practice is affiliated with a Catholic hospital, btw).  She did test my insulin levels, as insulin resistance is a common cause of PCOS, and prescribed Metformin.  I had a bad reaction that the prescription information from the pharmacy indicated could be serious, but when the ob/gyn finally called me back three days later, she said my only alternative was to lose weight (I've seen her throughout my treatment for anorexia, and she's telling me to lose weight!)

    On the advice of my NFP instructor, I saw an ob/gyn in another city.  She explained that several chemical imbalances can cause PCOS and tested me for each one through saliva sampling (apparently more reliable than blood testing for adrenal function).

    What disturbed me is that after a 3-minute lesson, she said that I now knew more than 98% of doctors about this condition that affects about 15% of women!  Also, I was initially told that I would eventually have to have fertility meds to conceive, because PCOS cannot be cured.  Well, if you fix the problem causing the symptoms, regular ovulation can be established.

    My point is that there can by many causes for missed periods and that your friend should have a thorough work-up with a physician who has the knowledge actually to treat the underlying cause rather than just "put a patch" on the situation with the pill.  Should her thyroid, adrenal or pituitary function be off, for example, a monthly pill-induced period isn't going to change anything.

    If she researches PCOS and thinks that may be an appropriate diagnosis, she can find an endocrinologist specializing in PCOS through this website (click on PCOS as the specialty): http://www.aace.com/resources/find-an-endocrinologist 

    Best wishes for your friend's health!
    "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!" (Isaiah 43:1)
  • In Response to Re: Have you ever heard of this before?:
    [QUOTE]Regarding NFP-treatment of PCOS:  I've recently been diagnosed after sporadically missing my period for up to 9 months at a time.  My ob/gyn recommended the pill, saying that I was at an increased risk of uterine cancer due to the increased build-up of the endometrium and mocked my refusal on religious grounds (the practice is affiliated with a Catholic hospital, btw).  She did test my insulin levels, as insulin resistance is a common cause of PCOS, and prescribed Metformin.  I had a bad reaction that the prescription information from the pharmacy indicated could be serious, but when the ob/gyn finally called me back three days later, she said my only alternative was to lose weight (I've seen her throughout my treatment for anorexia, and she's telling me to lose weight!) On the advice of my NFP instructor, I saw an ob/gyn in another city.  She explained that several chemical imbalances can cause PCOS and tested me for each one through saliva sampling (apparently more reliable than blood testing for adrenal function). What disturbed me is that after a 3-minute lesson, she said that I now knew more than 98% of doctors about this condition that affects about 15% of women!  Also, I was initially told that I would eventually have to have fertility meds to conceive, because PCOS cannot be cured.  Well, if you fix the problem causing the symptoms, regular ovulation can be established. My point is that there can by many causes for missed periods and that your friend should have a thorough work-up with a physician who has the knowledge actually to treat the underlying cause rather than just "put a patch" on the situation with the pill.  Should her thyroid, adrenal or pituitary function be off, for example, a monthly pill-induced period isn't going to change anything. If she researches PCOS and thinks that may be an appropriate diagnosis, she can find an endocrinologist specializing in PCOS through this website (click on PCOS as the specialty):  http://www.aace.com/resources/find-an-endocrinologist   Best wishes for your friend's health!
    Posted by Nickie431[/QUOTE]

    An amazing testimony! Thanks for sharing!
  • [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Have you ever heard of this before? : An amazing testimony! Thanks for sharing!
    Posted by Riss91[/QUOTE]
    Exactly what I was going to say, Nickie! Thanks for sharing!
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  • Wow, Nickie! 
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  • Thank you so much for sharing that Nickie! And everyone else, thank you so much for your input, I really appreciate it! I Will pass this on to my friend! Please keep her in your prayers!
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