The use of combined birth control methods such as birth control pills, patches and rings containing both estrogen and progestin could lower the risk of ovarian cancer in women, according to a study published Wednesday in the medical journal BMJ.
The findings by U.K. researchers were based on an observational study that analyzed data from the Danish Sex Hormone Register Study, which followed Danish women aged 15 to 79 for almost a decade in order to investigate the link between hormones use and the risk of cancer, CNN reported.
The study included nearly two million women, who were divided into groups according to whether they had never used hormonal contraception, stopped at some point or had used within the last year.
Women who had never used hormonal contraception were more at risk of developing ovarian cancer than women who had used the method.
“The reduced risk of ovarian cancer among current users was stronger with increasing duration of hormonal contraceptive use,” authors wrote “The reduced ovarian cancer risk among previous hormonal contraceptive users diminished with time since stopping use, and was non-significant by 10 years after last use.”
The findings are in line with other data that analyzed older forms of birth control and came to similar conclusions.
Researchers previously noted a link between the use of oral contraceptives and cancer.
Studies have suggested that oral contraceptives could increase the risk of certain cancer types and reduce the risk for others, according to the National Cancer Institute.
These findings are significant as 65 percent of women of reproductive age in the U.S. are currently using contraception, and nearly half are taking oral contraceptives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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