Contraceptives Could Prevent Cancer

Women who take birth control pills may be lowering their risk for ovarian cancer. Researchers at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom compared the medical records of women with and without ovarian cancer.

They found the longer women used oral contraceptives the greater their protection from the disease. For example, women who stopped taking birth control less than 10 years before the study had a 29 percent reduced risk for the ovarian cancer. Women who stopped 10 to 19 years before had a 19 lower risk.

The benefit appeared to last more than 30 years after women stopped taking the pill.

Experts say oral contraceptives have already prevented 200,000 cases of ovarian cancer and 100,000 deaths from the disease.

There was no difference in protection seen among women who took the pills in the 1960's, 70's or 80's, even though levels of estrogen in the pills were different.

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