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Women who use oral contraceptives during their reproductive years may gain long-term protection against endometrial cancer, a review of previous research suggests.
Researchers analyzed 36 studies including more than 140,000 women fromaround the world. They found that every five years of taking birth control pills was linked to a 24 percent reduction in the risk for endometrial cancer, even more than three decades after women stopped using the contraceptives.
“Our results show clearly, for the first time, that the protective effect of the pill on endometrial cancer lasts for over 30 years,” senior study author Valerie Beral of Oxford University in the U.K. said by email.
The most commonly prescribed oral contraceptives contain man-made versions of the natural female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Past research has already linked these pills to a reduced risk of endometrial and ovarian tumors, but also an elevated risk for breast, cervical and liver malignancies, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI).
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