Azara Blog: Taking the contraceptive pill allegedly decreases the risk of ovarian cancer

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Date published: 2008/01/25

The BBC says:

At least 100,000 deaths from ovarian cancer have been prevented worldwide by the contraceptive pill over 50 years, research has concluded.

The Oxford University team said the pill's rising popularity meant 30,000 new cases will soon be avoided each year, the Lancet reported.

The findings were based on analysis of 45 previous studies.

Calls for the pill to be available without prescription were strengthened by the study, the Lancet's editor said.
The relationship between the contraceptive pill and cancer is not all good news - there have been fears about short-term increases in the risk of breast and cervical cancer.

But researcher Sir Richard Peto said that young women did not have to worry about this risk.

"The eventual reduction in ovarian cancer is bigger than any increase in other types of cancer caused by the pill," he said.

Well, at least the article partly addressed the issue that although the pill might be good for one cancer, it might be bad for others. It is rather silly just to look at one thing in isolation. But in any case, the cancer issues are of course not the main point of the pill (unless the pill happened to make some form of cancer very prevalant). The main point of the pill is to avoid unwanted pregnancies. The benefit from that far outweighs any other consideration, and it is rather unbelievable how much time and effort is spent on these cancer studies.

And presumably these 45 studies, as most health studies, have found some kind of correlation, but of course correlation is not the same thing as causation. (To do a proper study one would have to randomly put some women on the pill and some not and see what the outcome was, but of course that study will never be done, because it would be irresponsible.)

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