It's not uncommon for women to start taking oral contraceptives in high school or college, which means that by the time they hit their mid or late twenties, they've been taking the Pill for 10 years. If that's you-and you've celebrated or will soon be celebrating your 10 year anniversary with the Pill (hey that's longer than all of our LTRs have lasted)-researchers have good news for you. They just discovered that women who take oral contraceptives for a decade have a lower risk of ovarian cancer.
By Zoë Ruderman
A significantly lower risk. It cuts your chances by almost half, according to the study, recently published in The British Journal of Cancer. Scientists looked at European women who had been on oral birth control for a year or less, and found that the rate of ovarian cancer was 28 in 100,000. They then studied women who had been taking the Pill for 10 years or more, and saw that the rate dropped to 15 in 100,000. As you can see, the chances of getting ovarian cancer are very low to begin with, especially pre-menopause. But having a decade of Pill-taking under your belt decreases the chances by nearly half.
Ironically, the other way to reduce your risk is to not take birth control and to get pregnant. Scientists found that women who had never been pregnant had a 34 in 100,000 chance of getting ovarian cancer, but it dropped to 24 per 100,000 after having a kid.
The explanation is that the longer your ovaries are dormant (basically, not being used/not ovulating), the lower your risk. And pregnancy and birth control put them in a non-ovulatory state.
Like we said, this type of cancer is very rare among pre-menopausal women so if you're not happy on the Pill or don't want to go on it for whatever reason, you shouldn't feel like you need to in order to lower your risk factor.
And if taking oral contraceptives and getting pregnant aren't in your near future, there are other things you can do to reduce your risk. Being at a healthy weight is one of them. According to the American Cancer Society, obese women have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer, and are 50 percent more likely to die from the cancer. Sticking to a healthy diet is also a smart move, as one study found that women who "followed a low-fat diet for at least four years showed a lower risk". And while early studies claim that there's a correlation between smoking and risk of ovarian cancer, newer research disagrees. That said, some experts say that while puffing may not lead to an increased risk of all types of ovarian cancers, it may up one's chances of certain types. Regardless of how it affects your ovarian cancer risk, do you really need another reason to not smoke?
Are you in a long-term relationship with the Pill? How long have you been on it?Read more at Cosmopolitan.com!
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