New research suggests that women who use oral contraceptives though their reproductive years have a lower risk of developing endometrial cancer.
Endometrial cancer begins in the lining of the uterus and tends to affect women in their 60s. Many risk factors are associated with this type of cancer, including:
- Inability to give birth
- Menstruation at a young age
- Entering menopause at an older age
- Prescription estrogen therapy to ease menopause symptoms
Scientists examined around 36 studies with data from more than 140,000 women around the world. They found every five years of oral contraceptive use corresponded to a 24% decline in endometrial cancer rates.
“Our results show clearly, for the first time, that the protective effect of the pill on endometrial cancer lasts for over 30 years,” said senior study author Valerie Beral.
Researchers concluded that more studies are needed to understand why and how the pills are able to protect against cancer after women stop taking them.