New Study Shows that Birth Control Pill can Reduce the Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Previous research reported that birth control pills are linked to lower odds for ovarian cancer. New research shows the benefit extends to smokers or obese women.

Long-term use of birth control pill was linked to reductions in risk for both cancers, and this was generally consistent across health behaviors, according to a team led by Kara Michels, a cancer institute epidemiologist. According to the study from the U.S. National Cancer Institute, these trends were also observed for endometrial cancer as well. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 22,000 U.S. women are predicted to receive a diagnosis of the disease in 2018.The study was published on January18, 2018 in JAMA Oncology

The researchers analyzed the data from a U.S. study that tracked the health of women from 1995 to 2011. A total of 100,000 were reported to be using an oral contraceptive at the beginning of the study. 40% reduction was observed in the risk of ovarian cancer for women who used the pill for 10 years or more. Furthermore, that benefit was similar for smokers and nonsmokers and for slim and heavier women, the investigators noted.

As for endometrial cancer tumors of the uterine lining, women with less healthy lifestyle habits were observed to have high risk of developing disease. For instance, women who smoked experienced a 53 percent drop in risk for endometrial cancer while on an oral contraceptive. Obese women who were on the pill observed 64 percent reduction in risk for endometrial cancers. However, long-term use of the pill appeared to have no effect on a woman’s odds for either breast or colon cancers.

According to Michels’ group, long-term use of pill might then trigger a reduction in a second hormone called as estradiol due to supply its own dose of one hormone by pill. According to Contraceptives Drugs and Devices Market report published by Coherent Market Insights, excessive use of contraceptive pills have harmful side effects.  Exposure to such hormones has been linked to high rate of certain cancers. “This study confirms that long-term use of pill causes a profound reduction in the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers,” said Dr. Stephen Rubin, chief of gynecologic oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

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