Neb. priest contributes to article linking contraception, breast cancer

Lincoln, Neb., Jul 21, 2014 / 12:07 pm (CNA).- In an upcoming issue of The Linacre Quarterly, the official journal of the Catholic Medical Association, an article entitled, “The Breast Cancer Epidemic: 10 Facts,” will explore the scientific evidence that connects artificial contraception to breast cancer.

Father Christopher Kubat, executive director of Catholic Social Services of southern Nebraska and a medical physician, is one of the co-authors. He was asked to contribute a small portion of the article by two of the main authors, A. Patrick Schneider II, M.D., M.P.H., and Christine Zainer, M.D.

Father Kubat became acquainted with Dr. Zainer when he was still practicing medicine in Milwaukee, before he entered the seminary. Drs. Schneider and Zainer also received contributions from Nancy K. Mullen, M.D. and Amberly K. Windisch, M.D.

If I can be honest, I feel like these sorts of things are a distraction more than anything. I support science but I think we should be careful to keep such things separate. It just makes us look like fearmongers.

It’s not going to be any more in line with church teaching if people switch to using condoms instead. Nor if people developed a contraceptive that didn’t have these risks. And for women using them for other purposes, we already weigh the risks and benefits, and the increased risk of breast cancer is a known thing.

That’s a good point. We don’t want to overly rely on this as though it is the reason that artificial contraception is wrong. I try not to use it as “ammunition” when explaining the Catholic position.

That said, it’s never a bad thing to be better informed about health risks. And there are a fair number that do not know about these risks.

I believe I understand (and agree with) the gist of what you are saying. However, why on earth wouldn’t we share it? Perhaps in your experience, women readily admit the risks. That hasn’t been mine. Double-standards abound when it comes to artificial contraception. How often do we hear studies about this or that food possibly contributing to cancer, and subsequent government interference? I think I have yet to hear from any woman on the pill (or other forms) that she knows it’s linked with increased chances of breast-cancer.

See in my experience it’s almost over-exposed. At least in Catholic circles, admitting to taking a birth control pill gets a “Oh how could you don’t you know that causes cancer?” While true, for those of us with legit medical concerns, the reality is there’s no completely safe treatment, and the overawareness of the side effects of one particular treatment is annoying.

The vast majority of circles are NOT Catholic circles. The vast majority of religious, American circles are NOT Catholic circles.

The reality of Catholics authentically discussing something and what the rest of society actually hears something is about a close as playing the children’s game of telephone with 6 billion people passing the information, all using their native languages…

I have read that the contraceptive pill is classed as a class 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on cancer. Same group as asbestos and tobacco. There are plenty of legal drugs that have side effects but how many are class 1 carcinogens?

And IARC are actually under the umbrella of the World Health Organization, WHO, United Nations.

So women should know the truth about the health risks of abortion lest we be called fear mongers?

That doesn’t actually mean a whole lot. The “classes” are a measure of how strong the research is rather than how likely the individual drug is to cause cancer. Such things as wood dust are also on the list, as is alcohol.

The birth control pills have also been shown to reduce the risk of certain other cancers, plus iirc only the combined form pills are shown to cause cancer; the risk seems linked specifically to estrogen and not to progesterone.

That’s actually part of my point. I feel like the way it’s being discussed, it mostly leads to over-exposure in Catholic circles. While to the rest of the world it just looks like we’re engaging in biased research and scare-mongering, and tends I think to inhibit actual understanding of our opposition.

I think as the Church that is not our primary job. I think especially cases like this - a Catholic priest publishing in a Catholic journal - are not likely to be taken seriously. I your average individual supporting such things would take them about as seriously as your average Catholic would take a gay man publishing a study on the health of gay families in a LBGT journal. They’re going to be seen as pushing an agenda rather than as legit scientific research.

And I think there is a real risk that too much focus obscures our true motives. We’re not for safer abortions or contraceptives. The wrongness of them is not dependent upon their safety, and if our position seems too much built upon that we run the risk of losing our own ground the minute safer alternatives are developed.

Then it would make sense to advocate the Creighton system, which is geared towards addressing the problem all without adding any potential side-effects like cancer. It’s win-win. I don’t feel like we should settle for the status-quo in this. =) (Not saying you think that, either.)

Yep, that’s right - a class 1 carcinogen as classified by the WHO. I won’t even eat out of BPA lined cans. :wink: Women need to know this; they are free to reject it. Also I wonder about the effect of long term use of birth control on fertility. I think it screws up the production and flow of natural hormones. Nobody talks about this - we just have all these women (otherwise healthy) who have such a hard time conceiving. I find it odd that people are so reluctant to look at these things.

Interesting article. In fact prior to reading this, I never thought that artificial contraceptives were cancer causing carcinogens.

Yes, it does mean a whole lot. It puts the pill in the comparable situation to cigarettes. Sure, someone can smoke and it won’t effect everyone but the risk is there and it is with the pill as well.

This is the World Health Organization that designated it as a Class 1 Carcinogen, not the Catholic Church.

I thought the topic was contraception. Not sure how this factors in. Estesbob, would you mind clarifying for me? Thanks!

My point is that the Class doesn’t measure how likely you are to get cancer, and that given that the same pill also reduces the risk of other cancers, the net risk may not even be any higher. Not to mention only certain versions are actually on the list.

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