Ovarian Cancer and Birth Control

                Some interesting news came out about a possible benefit of taking birth control. A new study published in British Journal of Cancer shows a strong link between birth control use and a reduced risk of ovarian cancer. The study followed 327,396 women over a 9 year period and found that those women who had taken birth control pills had a reduced risk of ovarian cancer.

                Women who had taken the pill for 1 year had their chances reduced by 15% and those who had taken it for 10 or more years saw their risk go down by 45%. The study emulates previous research done at Harvard Medical School which showed a 10-12% reduced risk in 1 year users and a 50% reduced risk in 5 year users. Researchers in the study found that having multiple children also reduced the risk of ovarian cancer. The birth of one child reduced risk by 29% and each addition child adds another 8% reduction of risk.

                According to the Guttmacher Institute pills with lower doses of one specific type of progestin are the best at reducing risk of ovarian cancer. This information can have a significant impact for women who have a history of ovarian cancer and who already have a high risk of ovarian cancer because it will allow them to be proactive in attempting to combat this type of cancer before they get it.

                Ovarian cancer can only be detected by a blood test and because there is no solid evidence showing that early detection increases the likelihood of survival it is not recommended for regular testing. Even for women with a history of ovarian cancer in their family, the test is only a suggestion not a requirement. With this mentality common in the medical field it seems that anything that gives women more control over what happens to their body can only be a good thing.

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