Birth control has been said to be excellent for couples that do not want to experience surprise pregnancies, or teenagers who do not want to battle unwanted pregnancies. At the same time, however, birth control, as does every pill, has its own risks. One of the new risks, according to a new study, is that birth control has been linked to breast cancer. Those who take certain birth control pills could find themselves at risk for breast cancer.

The study conducted by researchers involved 1,102 breast cancer patients versus 21,952 control subjects (non-breast cancer participants). The control subjects consisted of those who’d either used birth control two or more years ago as well as those who’d never ingested birth control. The results of the study show that women who’d used some form of birth control within the last year had a 50% higher risk for developing breast cancer than those who’d taken birth control a long time ago or never ingested the oral contraceptive at all.

Another interesting find from the new study is that even birth control pills containing low levels of estrogen did not affect the breast cancer risk.

What can we conclude from the study, then? Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Public Health Sciences Division staff scientist Dr. Elisabeth F. Beaber says that additional studies need to be conducted before coming to definitive conclusions either way about the correlation between birth control and breast cancer: “Our results suggest that use of contemporary oral contraceptives [birth control pills] in the past year is associated with an increased breast cancer risk relative to never or former oral contraceptive use, and that this risk may vary by oral contraceptive formulation.”

In other words, the birth control that’s currently on pharmacy shelves could increase your risk of breast cancer – though we should be honest and tell you that other factors, including genetic constitution and environment, play a role in the development of breast cancer as well. Birth control has also been linked to risks of heart attack and stroke, particularly birth control patches – even those with low estrogen doses.