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With the pill come years of protection against certain types of cancer

Published on October 21, 2014 at 14:42 / Updated on October 10, 2019 at 17:48

It would seem that women who have used the birth control pill in the past are protected from ovarian cancer, even decades after they stopped using it.

A large study that will be published in a prestigious medical journal demonstrated that women who had taken the birth control pill for fifteen years had a 50% lower risk of suffering from ovarian cancer and that this risk remained low for more than thirty years, in spite of the fact that protection decreases with time. Without the pill, 12 women out of 1,000 are expected to develop ovarian cancer before the age of 75, a number that decreases to 8 women out of 1,000 for those who have used the pill in the past.

Even though the birth control pill protects a woman against ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer, it nevertheless slightly increases her risk of suffering from breast cancer and cervical cancer. Be that as it may, these risks disappear once she stops using the oral contraceptive. Experts do not know exactly why oral contraceptives increase the risk of suffering from certain types of cancers, all the while lowering the risk of being afflicted with other forms of the disease.

In the West, ovarian cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women. Because there are no tests to detect this type of cancer in its early stages, tumours are often discovered late, frequently resulting in a bleak prognosis. Hence, the protection offered by the birth control pill against ovarian cancer could very well supersede the slightly elevated risk of suffering from breast cancer or cervical cancer. However, this protection does not apply to women who have a family history of these types of cancer.

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