The Pill Cuts Cancer Risk Extends Life Professor Philip Hannaford
The contraceptive pill gives protection from many causes of death according to a new study. Women who have used the contraceptive pill are less likely to die from all types of cancer and heart disease. In fact they are less likely to die from any disease than women who have not used the pill.
The Royal College of General Practitioners oral contraception study is the biggest and longest studies of the use of oral contraceptives ever undertaken. 46,000 women were studied for nearly 40 years.
The report published in the British Medical Journal found the risk of disease to women on the pill is slightly increased in younger women but the lower risk in older women outweighs this leading to 52 fewer deaths per 100,000 "women years".
The slight increase in heart problems and blood clotting in younger women was mainly seen in women that smoked or were obese. Professor Philip Hannaford who led the study said:
“The way to minimize the risk is that you don’t smoke, have your blood pressure measured regularly, attend the cervical screening programme and maintain a healthy diet and exercise. That will make your risk very low, and there are also benefits.”
The reassuring results come after decades of scares which have linked the pill with increased rates of blood clots, stroke, heart disease and cancer.
The study was started in 1968 with women being recruited into the study by their General Practitioners (GPs).
The director of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service welcomed the report saying the study was "unusual and very helpful"
The typical U.S. woman wants only 2 children. To achieve this 62% of women must use contraceptives for an average of roughly 3 decades. Over 11.5 million American women use the contraceptive pill.
The contraceptive pill was introduced in the UK, where the study was undertaken, in 1961 for married women only. It is now used in the UK by 3.5 million women between the ages of 16 and 49.
The pill was developed by American biologist Dr Gregory Pincus and initially tested on Puerto Rican and Haitian women in the 1950s.
It has been the subject of controversy and health scares over the years but this new report seems to say that women that take the contraceptive pill are at least as healthy as those that don't and are better protected from some diseases such as cancer.
These days women not in a long term relationship are advised to use condoms as well as the contraceptive pill to help protect against sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV Aids, Syphilis and Chlamydia.
Research involving 46,000 British women over nearly 40 years has confirmed that the Pill is not linked to long-term health risks from cancer or heart disease, according to the report in the British Medical Journal.
Some Catholic organizations believe that by concentrating on the positive health benefits for older women that younger women will not realize that they are putting themselves at increased risk of cancer and heart disease by using the pill. The Catholic Church opposes all artificial modes of contraception.