Email There's long been a connection between birth control pills and a reduced risk of ovarian cancer. Now, new research suggests that's true for the latest form of the drug, as well.
Most women have one or more risk factors for ovarian cancer. But most of the common factors only slightly increase your risk, so they only partly explain the frequency of the disease.
So far, what is known about risk factors has not translated into practical ways to prevent most cases of ovarian cancer. There are several ways you can reduce your risk of developing the most common type of ovarian cancer, epithelial ovarian cancer.
Much less is known about ways to lower the risk of developing germ cell and stromal tumors of the ovaries, so this information does not apply to those types. It is important to realize that some of these strategies lower your risk only slightly, while others lower it much more.
Some strategies are easily followed, and others require surgery. If you are concerned about your risk of ovarian cancer, talk to your health care professionals. They can help you consider these ideas as they apply to your own situation. Avoiding certain risk factors Some risk factors for ovarian cancer, like getting older or having a family history, cannot be changed.
But women might be able to lower their risk slightly by avoiding other risk factors, for example, by staying at a healthy weight, or not taking hormone replacement therapy after menopause. See Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer to learn more.
Jan 24, · Jan 24, -- Oral contraceptives cut women's risk of ovarian cancer for more than 30 years after they stop taking them -- giving the pill a net anticancer effect. The original incorrectly stated that the researchers had proved a causal link between taking the pill and a reduced risk of ovarian cancer. The study does not prove cause and effect. Dec 23, · NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Birth control pills have long been known to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, but a new study suggests any type of contraceptive - even, surprisingly, vasectomy - .
Oral contraceptives Using oral contraceptives birth control pills decreases the risk of developing ovarian cancer for average risk women and BRCA mutation carriersespecially among women who use them for several years.
Still, birth control pills do have some serious risks and side effects such as slightly increasing breast cancer risk.
Women considering taking these drugs for any reason should first discuss the possible risks and benefits with their doctor. Gynecologic surgery Both tubal ligation and hysterectomy may reduce the chance of developing certain types of ovarian cancer, but experts agree that these operations should only be done for valid medical reasons -- not for their effect on ovarian cancer risk.
If you are going to have a hysterectomy for a valid medical reason and you have a strong family history of ovarian or breast cancer, you may want to consider having both ovaries and fallopian tubes removed called a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy as part of that procedure.
If you are older than 40 and you are going to have a hysterectomy, you should discuss the potential risks and benefits of having your ovaries removed with your doctor.
They may choose to have their ovaries removed later.
This has not been studied as well as removing both the ovaries and fallopian tubes at the same time, but there is enough information that it may be considered an option to reduce ovarian cancer risk in average risk women. Prevention strategies for women with a family history of ovarian cancer or BRCA mutation If your family history suggests that you or a close relative might have a syndrome linked with a high risk of ovarian cancer, you might want to consider genetic counseling and testing.
During genetic counseling by a genetic counselor or other health care professional with training in genetic risk evaluationyour personal medical and family history is reviewed. This can help predict whether you are likely to have one of the gene mutations associated with an increased ovarian cancer risk.
The counselor will also discuss the benefits and potential drawbacks of genetic testing with you. Genetic testing can help determine if you or members of your family carry certain gene mutations that cause a high risk of ovarian cancer.To find out, the team examined the effects of newer hormonal contraceptives with combined hormones, as well as progestogen-only products, on the risk for ovarian cancer among young women.
Birth Control & Cancer: Which Methods Raise, Lower Risk Jan 21, For example, "there is consistent evidence that oral contraceptives (birth control pills) increase a woman's risk of breast and cervical cancer but decrease the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer." which also help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer," says Gaudet.
Oral contraceptives reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, but the impact of other methods of contraception has not been fully explored. This population-based, case-control study involved women years of age who had ever had intercourse.
Using oral contraceptives is one way that high risk women (women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 muations) can reduce their risk of developing ovarian cancer.
But birth control pills can increase breast cancer risk in women with or without these mutations. "Women who are finished with reproduction might choose to have their tubes removed or have tubal ligation, which also help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer," says Gaudet.
Reduced Risk: Colon Cancer The protective benefits of birth control pills might not be limited to certain reproductive cancers. Cervical cancer: Women who have used oral contraceptives for 5 or more years have a higher risk of cervical cancer than women who have never used oral contraceptives.
The longer a woman uses oral contraceptives, the greater the increase in her risk of cervical cancer.