Why the pill can’t protect you from cancer

I’m going to blow one big fat myth out of the water today.  We’re currently being told that the pill will prevent us from getting caner.  Here’s a word I’m not normally likely to use here or anywhere really but it will help you see how untrue this is.  And here goes.  Bollocks.  It’s a total lie that the pill is protecting us from cancer, in fact the pill can’t protect you from cancer but quite the contrary. Synthetic oestrogen was understood to pose carcinogenic properties way back before my mum was in nappies.  The oestrogen only pill was quickly rectified to combine synthetic progesterone or be progesterone only (this is the combined pill as we know it today) to combat the issue that synthetic oestrogen was having on health.    You see, synthetic oestrogen was linked to endometrial cancer – in fact taking the oestrogen only pill would increase a woman’s risk of cancer twenty fold (Pope, A. 2008).

Unfortunately what seemed to be a perfect solution has since come back to bite us.  Large studies have gone on to prove something quite the contrary.  Progesterone was discovered to have even more damaging effect on the body, being linked to breast cancer.  This synthetic progesterone was and is more carcinogenic than synthetic oestrogen.  Newer research tells us that breast cancer cells grow at a far more rapid pace under the influence of progesterone. A study of women using progesterone only contraception were shown to have a 60% increase in their risk of breast cancer after taking it for just one year and what’s more, another large study found that the use of the pill before the age of 20 doubles the risk of breast cancer.  The trouble here is that the pill is prescribed for so much more than contraception – many young girls being prescribed the pill for period pain, amenorrhea, irregular menstruation, acne, PMS and much more.  It is the most prescribed drug world wide. It’s also important to know that women who have a family history of breast cancer and are on the pill have a higher chance of it developing.  What’s more there is research that suggests a strong link to the pill and liver cancer as well as cervical cancer.

Regardless of your medical knowledge, you don’t have to be a gynaecologist to recognise that these cancers are absolutely on the rise.  We may also piece together the links. I have share this story on my Debunking PCOS tour how a profound thought came to me whilst on the toilet (as you do…).  You see, our mothers were of the age where they were taking the pill for a short amount of time.  What we know is that the pill severely depletes the function of our gut and the gut is the pivot of our health.  The pill, just like antibiotics robs the gut of good bacteria which means that all of a sudden, your body starts to be compromised and unable to fully assimilate nutrients from the food you eat to go on and make sure your body is well nourished.  What’s more, the pill will mean that your bodies nutrient stores also become deficient as the body weakens and dips into its reserves to stay healthy – but of course, since you now can’t absorb nutrients fully, these stores aren’t being topped up.  So women are become extremely deficient whilst taking the pill.  Now at the time of conception, a child will directly inherit the gut health of the mother so for women of my age, they are potentially inheriting their mothers sub standard gut flora and fauna.  Then add to the mix that they may be born via c-section and don’t receive the essential dose of probitoics out of the vaginal canal or they aren’t breast fed (which equally contains essential probiotics to feed that good bacteria) then the child will be well behind the 8 ball in terms of their gut health.  This presents as low hormones (because the body simply doesn’t have the building blocks to essentially make hormones) and so these women may not develop a menstrual cycle.  They are very likely prescribed the pill to ‘regulate’ their menstural cycle, and so the vicious cycle continues.  Their gut health is further robbed, and their reproductive hormones just can’t be made.

So we are seeing a very deficient group of women of my age who have been on the pill for a very long time to ‘protect’ their health, only to discover it is doing quite the contrary. Your body requires your gut to be in tip top shape for all round wellness.  This extends to illness like cancer.  Realistically, the best way to protect yourself from cancer is to move toward all round wellness by way of diet, lifestyle, emotional health, environment and taking the proactive approach by laying a good foundation from the get go.  The gut is something we know how to heal.  We can use fermented foods, probiotics and ensure we rev up the bodies ability to absorb nutrients.  This is a far more proactive way to ensure health and preventing cancer or any other illness for that matter.  We need to be mindful of emotional health too.  This is equally one way of bubble wrapping yourself from illness since our emotions are also a piece in the pie of wellness.

Perhaps you’re on the pill and your damn scared to stop taking it because maybe you don’t want babies or you love the ease of it.  It’s important to collate as much information and work out exactly what feels right for you.  I encourage you to look into alternate ways to understand your body better, to look at your body’s rhythms and to understand that your potentially fertile days each cycle don’t extend through the entire month – just several days each month you could potentially conceive.  You may also love to check out my Debunking Ovulation ecourse that goes into the depths of understanding your cycle better for contraception as well as conception.  It all stats with knowledge.  Perhaps you’ve been on the pill to control crazy symptoms – remember symptoms are just signs your body is communicating to you that something needs attention.  There is always a reason and using them as clues is absolutely key.


  • April 28, 2014 By Amy ~ OtherWiseLiving 8:37 pm

    Don’t stop spreading this message of awareness, information seeking and informed decision making Nat! I never tire of hearing it; rather it just fuels my own passion to share it with my friends, cousins, aunts, colleagues, anyone!

    Stopping the pill over a year ago and the journey I’ve been on since then to get re-acquainted with my body and the wonder that is the female menstrual cycle has been nothing short of inspiring, wondrous and “game-changing!”

    Thanks again,

    Amy xx

  • April 28, 2014 By Lucy 9:47 pm

    Thanks, Nat! Do you have a link to the study done, though?

    • April 29, 2014 By mnfadmin 11:34 am

      Totally – check out these studies.
      1. By V. Beral et al. ‘Mortality associated with oral contraceptive use: 25 year follow up cohort of 46,000 women from Royal College of General Practitioners oral contraceptive study.
      2. Also ‘Oral contraceptive use and malignancies of the general tract. The Lancet, 2 (8624)

  • April 28, 2014 By Ellen Beasy 11:27 pm

    Wow Nat that’s scary stuff, would that apply to progesterone trouches prescribed to balance hormones? Thanks for being brave and bold with the truth!

  • February 25, 2015 By EmmaJ 11:06 pm

    Hi Nat,
    What do you have to say about going on the pill to prevent the progression of endometriosis disease leading to infertility? The pill has been sold to me as the treatment option for a myriad of potential gyny issues.

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