Oral contraceptive use in women at increased risk of breast/ovarian cancer: knowledge and attitudes


Center for Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders, Sydney Children's Hospital, High St, Randwick, NSW 2031, Sydney, Australia.

E-mail: c.wakefield@unsw.edu.au



Several of the health benefits and risks associated with the combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP) are particularly relevant to women at risk of hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer.


Eighty-three past female patients of an Australian hereditary cancer clinic aged 18–50 years completed a self-report questionnaire to assess their contraceptive practices, knowledge and information needs (44% response rate).


Ninety-two percent of participants had previously used the COCP, with a mean knowledge score of 3.63 out of 8. Nearly 40% reported that their family history of cancer was one reason they discontinued/avoided using the COCP. Women reported receiving insufficient COCP information and preferred a targeted information leaflet to answer their questions.


Although recall bias may have affected some women, there is a clear need to improve the consistency of information delivered to women at risk of hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer, to ensure informed contraceptive choices are made. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.