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Liver Tumors and Oral Contraceptives

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Updated December 07, 2003

There is evidence that OCs may increase the risk of certain malignant (cancerous) liver tumors. However, the risk is difficult to evaluate because of different patterns of OC use and because these tumors are very rare in American women (the incidence is less than 1 case per 100,000 white women). A benign (noncancerous) tumor of the liver called hepatic adenoma has also been found to occur, although rarely, among OC users. These tumors do not spread, but they may rupture and cause internal bleeding. They occur in about 1 in 33,000 pill users per year, mostly in women who have taken OCs for 5 years or longer.

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Reprinted from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health

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