Ocs linked to modestly lower cancer risk, but . . .

November 1, 2007

Taking oral contraceptive pills may reduce the overal risk of developing certain types of cancer.

Taking oral contraceptive pills may reduce the overall risk of developing certain types of cancer, according to the results of a study published online Sept. 11 in BMJ.

Philip C. Hannaford, MD, of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and colleagues investigated the relationship between OCs and the risk of cancer, analyzing data spanning 36 years from a British study that recruited over 46,000 women.

Women who had used OCs had a 3% to 12% reduction in the risk of developing any cancer compared with those who had never used them. However, women who had taken the Pill for 8 or more years had an increased risk of developing cancer, particularly cervical and central nervous system cancer, but had a reduced risk of ovarian cancer.

Hannaford PC, Selvaraj S, Elliott AM, et al. Cancer risk among users of oral contraceptives: cohort data from the Royal College of General Practitioner's oral contraception study. BMJ. 2007;335:651-654.