Combined Estrogen Progestogen Contraceptives and Menopausal Therapy Are Carcinogenic to Humans

Armen Hareyan's picture

An IARC Monographs Working Group has concluded that combined estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives and combined estrogen-progestogen menopausal therapy are carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), after a thorough review of the published scientific evidence.

At the same time, the Working Group stressed that there is also convincing evidence that oral contraceptives have a protective effect against some types of cancer.


There are both beneficial and adverse effects for oral contraceptives and menopausal therapy. Each woman who uses these products should discuss the overall risks and benefits with her doctor.

The Working Group, comprising 21 scientists from 8 countries, was convened by the IARC Monographs Programme of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer research agency of the World Health Organization.

Major public health importance

"These new IARC Monographs [volume 91] address exposures that are experienced daily by many millions of women world-wide," said Dr Peter Boyle, Director of IARC.