Children born to women taking hormonal contraceptives are at a high risk of leukaemia. This is according to a study published by Lancet (a medical journal), indicating that the use of hormonal contraceptives by women has been linked to increase in the risk of childhood cancer. Leukaemia is cancer of the blood- forming tissues, including the bone marrow and is the most common cancer in children globally.

The study, done in Denmark, picked 1 million children born between 1996 and 2014 listed in the Danish Medical Birth History and also identified those diagnosed with leukaemia in the Danish Cancer Registry. This was then correlated with prescriptions for maternal hormonal contraceptives from Danish National Prescription Registry.

The women who used the contraceptives were categorised into 3; those who had never used contraception before birth, those with a previous use of more than three months before start of pregnancy and those who had recent use of less than three months before and during pregnancy.

From the study, 606 children were diagnosed with leukaemia, with those born by women with a recent use of hormonal contraception found to be at higher risk of developing blood cancer.

“Hormonal contraception use close to or during pregnancy might have resulted in one additional case of leukaemia per about 50,000 exposed children, or 25 cases during the nine-year study period,” the study said.

Since no study has made the link before, the researchers see this as a medical milestone that will lead to more research into causes and prevention of leukaemia in children.

The study was funded by several organizations, among them The Danish Cancer Research Foundation.

In Kenya, there has been a steady increase on the number of women using contraceptives since 1989 with 57.4 per cent of women of reproductive age using birth control.By 1989, contraceptive use in the country was 27 per cent. It now stands at 58 per cent; with the demand for contraceptive use in the country currently at 76 per cent.
According to Kenya Demographic and Health Survey data of 2014, 6 out of every 10(60 per cent) sexually active unmarried women in Kenya use a modern form of contraceptive while their married counterparts stand at 53 per cent. 21 per cent of the unmarried women use male condoms and 5 per cent use traditional methods while for married women 2 per cent use male condoms and 5 per cent use traditional methods.

Via:  Standard Media