Pill protects women from cancer

Written by AAP on . Posted in News & Updates

The contraceptive pill has been found to protect women from certain cancers, including ovarian, a study suggests.

Women who have taken the contraceptive pill are protected from some types of cancer for as long as 30 years, according to new research.

Those who have used the pill are less likely to have bowel, endometrial or ovarian cancer than women who had never taken it, a study at the University of Aberdeen found.

Researchers also looked at the risk of all types of cancer in women who have taken the pill during their reproductive years and found it does not lead to new cancer risks later in life.

The results are the latest published from the longest-running study in the world into the effects of taking the contraceptive pill.

Established by the Royal College of General Practitioners' in 1968, the Oral Contraception Study was set up to look at the long-term health effects of oral contraceptives.

The latest study, led by Dr Lisa Iversen, relates to 46,000 women followed for up to 44 years.

Dr Iversen, research fellow in the Institute of Applied Health Sciences at the university, said because the study has been going for such a long time, researchers were able to look at the very long-term effects, if there are any, associated with the pill.

"What we found from looking at up to 44 years worth of data was that having ever used the pill, women are less likely to get colorectal, endometrial and ovarian cancer.

"So, the protective benefits from using the pill during their reproductive years are lasting for at least 30 years after women have stopped using the pill.

"We did not find any evidence of new cancer risks appearing later in life as women get older."

The study published its latest findings in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

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