According to a study published in the journal The Lancet Oncology prolonged use of birth-control pills could prevent uterine cancer. Endometrial or uterine cancer is the most common one among women affecting one in 37 women in the US. According to the American Cancer Society 55.000 new cases of uterine cancer appear every year. The most exposed to this disease are women older than 35.
This research analyzed other 36 studies and overall it involved 143.019 women coming from high-income countries. The data in the study is from between 1965 and 2014. The findings indicate that the risk of uterine cancer was reduced in the case of women who took oral contraceptives for an extended period of time.
Hormonal birth control reduces the risk of uterine cancer by 25-50 percent. A woman who has never taken oral contraceptives has 2 to 3 percent chances of developing uterine cancer before she turns 75 years. A woman who takes birth-control pills for five years has 1.7 percent lower risk of developing uterine cancer. The risk drops to 1.3 percent after ten years of using oral contraceptives and after 15 years the risk is of only 1 percent.
The study also indicates that the protective effect against cancer which contraceptives have lasts for at least 30 years even after the woman has stopped taking them. It was also observed that the reduced risk of cancer varied according to the type of tumor. Using hormonal birth control for a medium or long period of time was more effective in preventing carcinoma tumors and less effective in preventing sarcomas.
Overall researchers estimate that since 1965 birth-control pills have prevented 40.000 cases of uterine cancer. Moreover in the last decade alone 200.000 cases were prevented.
Dr. Nick Wentzensen from the National Cancer Institute commented on the study:
The conclusion of that report was that there is a net benefit of oral contraceptive use. Individual factors need to be considered when contemplating taking oral contraceptives for cancer prevention. For example, the combination of smoking and oral contraceptive use increases the risk of venous thrombosis.”
It should indeed be taken into account that there are also some risks which come with taking contraceptives such as an increased risk of developing liver and cervical cancer and increased blood pressure.
Image Source: case.edu