Italian scientists have found that women had about a 20 percent lower chance of developing cancer if they used oral contraceptives. This new research bolsters the theory that the female hormone estrogen might protect women from colorectal cancer.
Dr. Carlo La Vecchia, who led the study said "For a while now we have suspected that estrogen in the pill could protect against bowel cancer and our research has gone some way to confirm this In the future, it may be possible to develop new treatments that take advantage of the anticancer qualities of the pill".
Over the last 20 years, death rates from bowel cancer have dropped more in women than in men. Some scientists believe this could be partly due to estrogen found in oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy.
Regular screening after age 50, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are considered the best ways to reduce the chances of developing colorectal cancer, the author said.