Researchers have published their findings in BMJ Open linking prostate cancer with the use of oral contraceptives, such as birth control pills. The study focuses on how the byproducts of oral contraceptives pollute the environment, specifically water supplies. The result being lowered levels of estrogens in the affected populous.

Researchers David Margel and Neil E. Fleshner found a strong link between oral contraceptives and prostate cancer. Throughout the course of their research, they found that environmental oestrogen levels increased through the mediation of the oral contraceptive effect.

Within their study, Margel and Fleshner researched all angles. They even followed several hypothesis that claimed an over exposure to estrogen increased a person’s risk of prostate cancer. The researchers wanted to see if estrogen in the environment increased prostate cancer in the populous.

The data used for the study included global data and ecological studies from the United Nations and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The data focused on the link between oral contraceptive deaths and incidences of prostate cancer.

The data was separated by continent and country. Additional results were divided by varying types of contraceptives, including vaginal barriers, condoms and IUD’s. The results of the study showed:

  • The use of oral contraceptives and incidences of prostate cancer were linked.
  • The link between oral contraceptives and prostate cancer was found in developed nations in Europe.
  • There were no links found between non-oral contraceptives and prostate cancer.
  • The economic development of the country did not play a factor in the link between oral contraceptives and prostate cancer.

Upon completion of the research study, Margel and Fleshner could not prove the link between oral contraceptives and increased prostate cancer risk. They could only point to the fact that the findings warranted further investigation. They wanted to further study the biological and chemical pathways and the resulting cause and effect.

In their findings, Margel and Fleshner came to the conclusion that the prostate cancer increases from oral contraceptives are due to high levels of ethinyloestradiol (estrogen) in the drugs. This active ingredient is released through the urine and thus ends up in the water supply and the food chain.

David Margel and Neil E. Fleshner. BMJ Open. 14 November 2011.