ADVICE to women to avoid taking the Pill continuously might not be as important as previously thought. Taking a break from the contraceptive pill does not reduce the risk of breast cancer for young long-term users, according to new research from the UK National Case-Control Study.

In a study of 755 women diagnosed as having breast cancer between 1982 and 1985, it was found that those taking the contraceptive pill for more than four years had a 7 per cent increased risk for each year of use, regardless of whether or not they came off it for a spell. The report, published in the British Journal of Cancer, showed that the total length of use mattered more than the pattern of use.