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Birth Control Concerns

This past week, I went to my doctor for an appointment that I thought, for once, wouldn’t have much to do about my past cancer diagnosis. But I underestimated how far the claws of cancer can reach.

Needing to start birth control

I’ve recently become engaged and decided it’s finally time to get onto birth control. I’ve never in my life used female birth control, so I had a lot of questions about all of the different kinds. I’m going to mention the main ones that I spoke to my doctor about here, but there are many more.

Looking at birth control options

Technology is amazing! Now, there are types of birth control that you can have inserted and not have to worry about very often. There are IUDs that go into your fallopian tubes and can stay in for years before getting replaced. There are also implants that can go into your arm.

While these options may make it easier to take birth control, I knew from my PTSD with medical procedures I wouldn’t be comfortable undergoing having anything put inside of me. All I could think of was how annoying my port was and how much I would be stressed out waiting to get something put in. So, I opted out of those choices.

Injection

My next option was a shot that you get every 3 months. I had heard about this one from close friends before. I believe people also call it The Depo Shot. My friends would tell me that for them the shot made them gain a lot of weight. Even after getting off of the shot, the weight would be extremely hard to work off or would never go back down.

While I was going through my cancer treatment, I gained a lot of weight from not being as active and then gained more weight from prednisone. Which was a steroid I had to take for my chemo. I am finally back to a normal healthy weight for my body type. I was afraid I might gain a lot of weight again, so I decided to look at my other options.

The pill

This has been around forever! The pill is a form of birth control that you take every day at the same time to prevent pregnancy. It releases hormones that thicken your uterine wall to stop eggs from attaching to it, which would later be fertilized and eventually grow into a fetus.

A lot of people don’t opt for this option because if you forget to take a dose, you can very quickly become pregnant. My doctor informed me that this method can cause…want to take a guess? If you said another form of cancer, you’d be right! It also can cause strokes if you’re more prone to certain factors. But yes, it can up your chances for endometrial cancer.1 Also a few others which I’ll link here.

I had to laugh a little; it seems cancer is always around the corner with so many day-to-day things. Which stinks because the pill is a very helpful tool for many women. I would like it to help me too. But now I have to decide if the risk of getting cancer (a fourth time) is worth it. I don’t know the calculated risk, and there really isn’t a sure way of knowing. There’s no magic number.

What's the risk?

I have another appointment with my doctor on Monday to speak with him more in-depth about it. I’m hoping he can give me an estimated percentage, though. Maybe if it’s a low enough number I’ll feel comfortable enough taking it. By the time this article comes out, I’ll probably have made a decision.

What has your experience been with birth control? Do you know someone who has benefited from it or has had unfortunate side effects? Warm wishes, Katelynn

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