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Friday 21st October 2016

Cancer risk 'cut' by pill

12th September 2007

Research has suggested that taking the contraceptive pill may cut women's risk of cancer.


A team from Aberdeen University looked at information from a 36-year study, which started in 1968. Doctors provided the study with an update about the health of women taking the pill every six months.

It showed that the increased danger of breast and cervical caner was "cancelled out" by the protective effect of the pill against other cancers.

However, the study warned that if the pill was taken for over eight years, then there was an "increased overall risk" of developing cancer.

Around three million women take the contraceptive pill every year in the UK.

The study showed that the danger of developing cancer was up to 12% lower among those women who used the contraceptive pill. Researchers suggested that women who took the pill were protected for 15 years or more after they had stopped taking it.

The study found that pill users who took it for over eight years had raised risk of cancer - in particular cervical and nervous system cancers. However, the same group showed a decreased risk of ovarian cancers.

Lead researcher Professor Philip Hannaford said: "I would not recommend women take the pill specifically to reduce their risk of cancer, but if they decide to take it then they are not going to be putting themself at risk by doing so."

Dr Julie Sharp, of the charity Cancer Research UK, said the research showed that the increased risk of cancer associated with short term use of the pill "may be balanced out by health benefits over the longer term."

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