Women who have taken the oral contraceptive pill are protected from some types of cancer for as long as thirty years, according to a new major study.
The results of the longest-running study in the world into the effects of the contraceptive pill showed that having ever used the pill, women are less likely to have colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer or ovarian cancer than women who had never used the pill.
The study from University of Aberdeen in the UK also looked at the risk of all types of cancer in women who have taken the pill.
Results showed that using the pill during their reproductive years does not produce new cancer risks later in life - the time when more cancers occur.
The findings relate to 46,000 women, followed for up to 44 years, creating more than 1.2 million woman-years of observation.
“Because the study has been going for such a long time we are able to look at the very long term effects, if there are any, associated with the pill,” said Dr Lisa Iversen, Research Fellow at University of Aberdeen.
“What we found from looking at up to 44 years’ worth of data, was that having ever used the pill, women are less likely to get colorectal, endometrial and ovarian cancer,” Iversen said.
“So the protective benefits from using the pill during their reproductive years are lasting for at least 30 years after women have stopped using the pill,” she said.
“These results from the longest-running study in the world into oral contraceptive use are reassuring.
“Specifically, pill users do not have an overall increased risk of cancer over their lifetime and that the protective effects of some specific cancers last for at least 30 years,” Iversen added.
The study was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.