We have incredible news: the Annals of Oncology has published a new study which finds the death rate for ovarian cancer has declined in numerous countries over the last two decades! Since the disease is the fifth most common cancer diagnosed in women, this research development is amazing.
So why is this happening?
According to researchers, it’s all thanks to birth control pills.
The study explains, “Indeed… the falls are larger in countries of Northern Europe and in the USA, where [oral contraceptive] use was earlier and more widespread.” As reported by Refinery29, The National Cancer Institute concurs and says this connection between ovarian cancer and birth control pills has been seen in numerous studies — and recently, oral contraceptives were found to help prevent endometrial cancer as well.
Researchers studied World Health Organization data — specifically, the ovarian cancer death rates in approximately 50 countries between the years 1970-2012.
Findings revealed that, in the United States, the death rate had dropped by 16 percent, and in the European Union, it had dropped by 10 percent.
By 2020, they estimated the rate will drop another 15 percent for the U.S. and another 10 percent for the E.U. Researchers especially noticed a decline in young women aged 20-49 years old.
Unfortunately, the researchers noticed increases in Bulgaria, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela. They are considering whether childbirth rates, hormone replacement therapy, and the time at which women began taking oral contraceptives is at all responsible for this difference.
This news is absolutely not meant to encourage women to use birth control pills if they are not already on them — especially since that is not an ideal or safe birth control method for all women.
As Refinery29 notes, hormonal contraceptives can increase breast cancer risk. And depending on your medical history, they can lead to other dangerous health problems. But if you have a family history of ovarian cancer or you are already safely taking the pill, this is definitely something to think about. Talk to your doctor to help you decide what is best for your body!