The Pill Reduces Cancer Risk

Oral contraception is beneficial—but only if used for less than 8 years
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2007 5:57 AM CDT
The Pill   (Archive Photos)
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(Newser) – The pill has a possible new side effect: preventing cancer. Women who took oral contraceptives for less than eight years have up to a 12% lower risk of developing the disease, according to a new British study, one of the largest ever conducted. The risk of developing bowel and rectal, uterine and ovarian cancers was most reduced.

But those using the pill for longer—roughly a quarter of users—saw the opposite effect, with risk skyrocketing 22%. Despite that danger, researchers believe the study provides reassurance for many women, especially first-generation contraceptive users now entering prime cancer risk years.