(Mirror Daily, United States) – A new study revealed that women taking hormonal contraception still face a breast cancer risk even when they are on low-dose medication. Danish researchers found that low-doses can still lead to breast cancer, even though the risk is relatively small in women in their 20s and 30s.

The findings appeared Dec. 6 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In their study, scientists analyzed data on 1.8 million women with the average age of 32. The team was focused on finding the effects of birth control over an extended period of time.

Study participants were tracked for 11 years. Women using hormonal birth control which involves a mix of protesting and estrogen were compared with women on non-hormonal birth control methods like condoms or diaphragms.

Unlike past research, the latest study was able to analyze the health effects of other hormonal methods like the ring, implants, and the patch.

Hormonal Contraception Linked to 20% Higher Cancer Risk

The analysis revealed that regardless of the type of method, there was a 20% higher risk of breast cancer in women that used hormonal contraception than in their peers on other types of birth control.

Lead author Lina Morch of the University of Copenhagen added that the longer those contraception methods were used, the higher the cancer risk.

However, in young women, breast cancer incidence is relatively small. So, a 20-percent higher risk is still small when the cohort is small, said American Cancer Society researcher Mia Gaudet, who was not involved in the study.

Plus, most of the breast cancer patients were women in their 40s who used hormonal contraceptives. So, it is unclear whether age had anything to do with the increased breast cancer risk or the long-term use of these birth control methods.