Endometrial cancer is a common cancer that affects the female reproductive system. It is also called as womb cancer or uterine cancer. Taking a contraceptive pill over an extended period has prevented some 200,000 cases of endometrial cancer over the last decade in rich nations alone, revealed a new research published in the The Lancet Oncology. The study suggested that these anti-cancer benefits persisted for decades after women stopped taking the pill. The researchers estimated that over the past 50 years, some 400,000 endometrial cancers were avoided in high-income countries.
For the study, researchers analyzed data on 27,276 women with endometrial cancer in two dozen countries. Co-author Valerie Beral, from the University of Oxford said, "Women who use it when they are in their 20s or even younger continue to benefit into their 50s and older, when cancer becomes more common. People used to worry that the pill might cause cancer, but in the long term the pill reduces the risk of getting cancer."
The study found that every five years of oral contraceptive use reduced the risk of endometrial cancer by about a quarter. Taking the contraceptive pill for 10 years, for example, cut the odds of developing endometrial cancer before the age of 75 years from 2.3 to 1.3 cases per 100 users. This finding held true whether women used the pill in the 1960s, when estrogen doses in contraceptives were high, or in the 1980s and later, when the doses decreased. Women's reproductive history and ethnicity did not change the study findings, which were also substantially the same for women who were overweight, smoked or consumed alcohol. However, the researchers stopped short of suggesting that women start taking oral contraceptives as an anti-cancer measure.