The risk is lowered each year the pill is taken

The risk is lowered each year the pill is taken

Taking the pill for ten years could cut your risk of developing ovarian cancer by more than half.

Researchers found that taking the contraceptive pill for more than 10 years had the biggest impact on reducing the risk of the disease, followed by getting pregnant and having more than one child.

Using oral contraceptives for any length of time was associated with a 15 per cent reduction in cancer risk. The risk fell further the longer a woman was on the Pill. After a decade, it had fallen by 45 per cent.

But experts warn that this must be balanced against the risk of breast cancer, which is higher in women on the Pill.

For every 100,000 women on the Pill for 10 years there are 50 extra breast cancers and 12 fewer ovarian cancer, data shows.

The research, which is published in the British Journal of Cancer and part-funded by Cancer Research UK, calculated that women who have been through a full-term pregnancy are 29 per cent less likely to develop the disease than women who have never pregnant.

Dr Richard Edmondson, a Cancer Research UK women's cancer expert from the University of Newcastle, says: "Women may be reassured to know the oral contraceptive is not only an effective contraceptive but can have the added benefit of reducing their risk of ovarian cancer."

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women in the UK, with more than 6,500 cases diagnosed each year. Several factors are known to play a role including age, faults in certain genes, obesity and smoking.

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