LONDON According to a new study in the journal Lancet, birth control pills can protect women against ovarian cancer for 30 years or longer after they discontinue their medication and have so far prevented 100,000 ovarian cancer deaths worldwide, according to Reuters.
The longer a woman stays on the pill, the better her chances of not developing the cancer. The researchers analyzed 45 studies on ovarian cancer in 21 countries, showing that the benefits of the pill outweigh the risks, including increased chances of breast and cervical cancer.
In terms of numbers, taking the pill for 10 years cut the risk of ovarian cancer before the age of 75 from 12 per 1,000 women to 8 per 1,000. It also reduced the risk of dying from the disease from 7 per 1,000 women to 5 per 1,000 before the age of 75, the study found.
The study also showed ethnicity, education, family history and other factors do not seem to make much difference in reducing risk when it comes to using the pill.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, more than 190,000 new cases of ovarian cancer are discovered each year worldwide. But more than 100 million women now take the pill, so it will eventually prevent more than 30,000 ovarian cancer cases annually over the next few decades, the researchers wrote.