Long-term oral contraceptive use increases breast cancer risk in women over 55 years of age: the DOM cohort

Int J Cancer. 2000 Aug 15;87(4):591-4. doi: 10.1002/1097-0215(20000815)87:4<591::aid-ijc20>3.0.co;2-c.


The role of past oral contraceptive use in the development of breast cancer is unclear, particularly in postmenopausal women. The authors investigated this relationship among pre- and postmenopausal middle-aged women in a nested case-control study within the population-based DOM cohort, Utrecht, the Netherlands. Among a total population of 12,184 women followed up for an average of 7.5 years, 309 breast cancer cases aged 42 to 63 years, diagnosed from November 1982 through May 1996, and 610 controls were examined. Overall, duration of oral contraceptive use was not clearly related to breast cancer. In women older than 55 years, however, oral contraceptive use for more than 10 years was associated with a 2-fold increased risk of breast cancer (odds ratio (OR) 2.1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-4.0). We conclude that long duration of oral contraceptive use increases the risk of breast cancer in women over 55 years of age but not in younger women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Breast Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Contraceptives, Oral / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause
  • Premenopause
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors


  • Contraceptives, Oral