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Contraceptive pill 'can cut some cancer risk by up to 30%'

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Women who take the contraceptive pill can cut their likelihood of getting some cancers by up to 30%, according to a new study.

The University of Aberdeen team found those who had used the pill were less likely to have bowel cancer, endometrial cancer or ovarian cancer than women who had never taken it.

Researchers also found it did not lead to new cancer risks later in life.

It was described as the longest-running study of its kind in the world.

The research looked at 46,000 women for up to 44 years.

Dr Lisa Iversen, who led the research, said: "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.

"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.

"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."

'Reassuring results'

Dr Iversen added:"We were also interested in what the overall balance of all-types of cancer is amongst women who have used the pill as they enter the later stages of their life.

"We did not find any evidence of new cancer risks appearing later in life as women get older.

"These results from the longest-running study in the world into oral contraceptive use are reassuring. Specifically, pill users don't 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. "

The findings have been published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

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