Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Doctor's Advice | Can the Pill cause cancer?

Published:Saturday | November 5, 2016 | 11:00 AM

Q Doctor, does the Pill cause cancer? I am female, age 20, and I think that I need to go on the Pill for around six months. At the end of that time, the man I love will be going back to America and he will not be returning to Jamaica. So, sadly, that will be the end of our relationship. Therefore, I will not need to use the Pill any more.

Would taking it for those six months increase my risk of getting cancer?

A Well, if you love this guy, it is a pity that your relationship must come to an end in six months' time. Maybe the two of you will find some way around that?

Anyway, as far as the Pill is concerned, the situation is that it does slightly increase the risk of some cancers, but it slightly reduces the chances of getting others. Let me be more specific:

- Breast cancer: The Pill does slightly increase the chances of getting breast cancer, and it is important that women should know that. However, when you stop taking the Pill, the risk rapidly starts falling back towards normal. Nevertheless, anyone who has ever taken the Pill should check her breasts regularly, looking for lumps or anything that doesn't seem right.

- Cancer of the cervix: Experts think that the Pill slightly increases your chances of developing cervical cancer, but the situation is confused by the fact that cervical cancer is commoner in those who have had a lot of sex. And naturally, ladies who are on the Pill tend to have more sex!

In practice, if you make sure that you have regular cervical screening (Pap tests), the chances of getting this type of cancer are dramatically reduced. Also, the anti-cervical cancer vaccines, which have been introduced for younger women in recent years, make you much less likely to get this disease.

- Cancer of the womb: Happily, the Pill seems to make women less likely to develop cancer of the womb.

- Cancer of the ovary: Similarly, the Pill appears to lessen the risk of getting cancer of the ovary.

- Cancer of the bowel: In recent years, it has become clear that the Pill lessens the chances of bowel cancer by around 20 per cent.

To sum up, it is most unlikely that going on the Pill for just six months would have any significant effect on your chances of getting cancer one day. And it is important for women to bear in mind that while the oral contraceptive does slightly increase the risk of some cancers, it helps protect you against others.

Q I am a man. While having intercourse on the 14th day of my partner's menstrual cycle, would just one drop of my fluid from the penis make this virgin girl pregnant?

A I am a little confused by your question. If this girl is really a virgin, then how is it possible that you have been having intercourse with her?

Anyway, like many young men, you, presumably, want to know whether just one drop of seminal fluid on the outside of the female genitals could cause pregnancy.

The answer is 'Yes it could'. Fortunately, conception is not very common unless the sperm are deposited inside the vagina, but whatever you and this young woman are doing, I suggest you choose some reliable method of contraception right away.

Q Doc, my friends are always talking about something called 'blow jobs'. Apparently, it is something that their boyfriends ask them for.

Well, if a guy asked me to give him that 'service', I would not know what to do, so please explain. Does it involve some kind of blowing? Could it give a girl an infection? Is there any risk of HIV? And finally, I presume there is no risk of pregnancy?

A In fact, I think this question may help quite a lot of bewildered young women because of the fact that these days, young men are always trying to persuade young women into doing this for them.

My first piece of advice for you ladies is this: Don't feel you have to do it. Do not allow yourself to be pressured into doing this thing. If a guy says to you, 'But everybody does this', pay him no mind!

OK, so what is that famous 'blow job' thing? Well, very importantly, please understand that it should not involve 'blowing'. I do not know how this activity ever got the name 'blow job', but it is a name that is both misleading and dangerous.

What people mean when they say this phrase is just the activity of putting the man's penis into the female's mouth. Medically, that is known as fellatio or fellation. Guys find this pleasant, although, generally, they do not like it as much as putting the penis into the vagina.

Why do they like it? Simply because it produces agreeable sensations, thanks to the movements of the lady's lips and tongue. Many experienced women actually suck during this activity, and some males find that real helpful in maintaining an erection.

But, here is the danger warning: If you ever do this to a partner, please never, ever 'blow'. Blowing into the penis is highly risky. That is because it can send your mouth germs deep into the guy's sexual apparatus. That can create a serious infection in the region of the testicles.

Now, let me answer your other questions:

- Could it give the female an infection? Yes, it certainly could. Gonorrhoea ('the clap') and chlamydia are sometimes passed to women in this way. You could also catch syphilis - if the guy had that terrible disease.

- Is there any risk of getting HIV? Yes, there is a small risk of catching HIV if you give fellatio to a guy who has the virus,

- Is there any risk of pregnancy from this activity? No, to all intents and purposes, there is no risk of getting pregnant.

If you search on the Internet, you will find that there was once a case of pregnancy which occurred in Lesotho, Africa, but it occurred under such truly bizarre circumstances that I think it is almost impossible that it could happen to anyone in Jamaica.

I hope that clears up your queries. I stress that if you have any doubts whatever about this form of oral sex, you should not agree to do it.

Q Does the mini-pill produce an abortion, as I have heard?

A No, it doesn't, so you can quit fretting.

Q I am a guy of 18, and a virgin. Will the fact that I have masturbated harm my ability to have sexual intercourse, Doc?

A No, not at all, so please forget that idea.

Q Doc, if my girlfriend takes the Shot, could the hormones in it affect me?

A No, the hormone which is contained in the contraceptive injection ('the Jab' or 'the Shot') cannot possibly affect the guy.

- Email questions to Doc at saturdaylife@gleanerjm.com and read more in the 'Outlook Magazine' tomorrow.