Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

In a case control study of 287 women aged 15-24 years with malignant melanoma and 574 matched controls, findings relating to oral contraceptive use and other hormone use are reported. Ever having used oral contraceptives was not associated with an increased risk of melanoma (relative risk for ever use of the pill = 1.0). Women with melanoma were, however, more likely to have taken oral contraceptives for long periods of time in the past, the relative risk associated with oral contraceptive use for a total duration of 5 years or longer which had begun at least 10 years before the melanoma was diagnosed being 1.5 (95% confidence interval 1.03 to 2.14) This elevated risk persisted after controlling for the reported hair and skin colour, frequency of moles on the body, place of birth, and measures of sunlight and fluorescent light exposure. Cases were more likely than controls to have used hormones to regulate their periods, hormonal replacement therapy and be given hormone injections to suppress lactation, the respective relative risks being 1.9, 1.4 and 1.4, but none differed significantly from 1.0. These findings suggest that prolonged oral contraceptive use may, after a lag of 10 years or so, increase the risk of malignant melanoma.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





681 - 685


Adolescent, Adult, Contraceptives, Oral, Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal, Female, Gonadal Steroid Hormones, Humans, Melanoma, Middle Aged, Risk, Skin Neoplasms, Time Factors