Hello. The concerns you have about your birth control pills are shared by a lot of women -- and by lots of health experts, too. Some studies have shown that long-term use of oral contraceptives slightly increases the risk for certain kinds of cancer, such as liver and cervical cancer
. On the other hand, using birth control pills for a long time appears to decrease the risk for uterine and ovarian cancer
. The data showing a link between oral contraceptives and breast cancer
is inconsistent: some studies suggest a slight increase in the risk for breast cancer, while others don't.
At this point in time, most experts agree that women can take oral contraceptives for as long as they need birth control or until they reach menopause
, as long as they're otherwise healthy and don't smoke. (Women over the age of 35 who smoke shouldn't take birth control pills.)
Your doctor, who is familiar with your medical history, is best qualified to review other birth control options with you, including IUDs (both hormonal and non-hormonal), implantable forms (e.g. Implanon), injectable hormones (Depo-Provera), patches, vaginal rings, barrier methods
, and both progestin-only and combination oral agents.
I hope that all helps!