London, Jan 25 (UNI) The oral contraceptive not only safegaurds against unwanted pregnancies, but also diminishes the risk of ovarian cancer to a great extent.
A British study showed that the longer a woman is on the pill, the less likely she is to develop the disease dubbed the 'silent killer' because symptoms are often diagnosed too late. The benefits outweighed any other slight rise in cancer risk posed by the pill, researchers claimed.
The latest study by Cancer Research UK scientists looked at evidence from 45 studies of ovarian cancer in 21 countries, including 23,257 women with ovarian cancer of whom 7,308 (31 per cent) had used oral contraceptives and 87,303 women without ovarian cancer of whom 32,717 (37 per cent) had used oral contraceptives.
The study estimated that in high income countries, using oral contraceptives for ten years cut the risk of developing ovarian cancer before the age of 75 from 12 down to 8 per 1000 women. It reduced the risk of death from ovarian cancer before age 75 from 7 down to 5 per 1000 women.
However, the type of pill or level of oestrogen in it does not play a role, the study found.
The pill also protects against endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the womb).
The protective mechanism is probably because women on the pill are not producing any eggs. The normal process of egg release triggers cell damage and repair that raises the risk of tumour development, researchers said.
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