Breast cancer month. It drives me crazy! I’m being honest here. We all know at least one woman who has been affected by it. I do: Dr Heidi van Loggerenberg. The woman who changed my life.

You see, instead of hearing Heidi’s story about how hormonal contraceptives contributed to her breast cancer at the tender age of 35 and thinking, “Well it won’t happen to me,” I made important changes in my life. And I’m grateful to her every single day.

It was her journey through this awful disease and my (lucky) encounter with her that made me consider the question: Was I increasing my chance of breast cancer?

There is so much talk about cancer – why do we get it? Wear a pink ribbon! Do this, do that! But what drives me crazy – the kind of crazy that makes my hair stand up – is the fact that no one is standing up and saying that hormonal contraceptives do increase the chance of breast cancer. Think about it. In order for hormonal contraceptives to work they disrupt the whole endocrine system and stop it from working.

The University of Michigan study, Oral contraceptives cause evolutionarily novel increases in hormone exposure: A risk factor for breast cancer, has shown that breast cancer risk increases with hormonal exposure. The authors examined seven commonly prescribed birth control pills and found that four formulations more than quadruple levels of progestin, a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone, and another formulation resulted in a 40 percent higher exposure to ethinyl estradiol, a synthetic version of estrogen.

What frustrates me is the number of women very happily having the Mirena inserted, or taking the Pill, without truly recognising the risks. Which friend of yours will get breast cancer before you have to make the change?

Thank you to Dr Heidi van Loggerenberg for making me change my life, for encouraging me to become the only Justisse Holistice Reproductive Health Practitioner in South Africa so that I can teach women how to chart their cycles for 99.6% birth control effectiveness rates. She has gone on to help many other women change their lifestyles and reduce the risk of breast cancer.

So here’s the hard question: are you increasing your risk of breast cancer? What are you going to do about it?