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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Pill controlling more than population

Photo by Brandon Tompkins/The Collegian
Photo by Brandon Tompkins/The Collegian

By Kelsey Mobbs/reporter

Photo by Brandon Tompkins/The Collegian
Photo by Brandon Tompkins/The Collegian

New research from London reports the use of birth control pills has prevented ovarian cancer for decades.

Ovarian cancer is particularly deadly because women often have mild or no symptoms until the disease has progressed.

Statistics from the Ovarian Cancer Alliance Web site reports ovarian cancer is the seventh most common cancer among women in the United States.

Each year, approximately 20,000 American women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and about 15,000 women die of the disease.

This year it is estimated that 22,430 women in the United States will be diagnosed and 15,280 women will die from the disease, according to Ovarian Cancer National Alliance’s Web site.

Millions of women use birth control pills, mostly to prevent unwanted pregnancy, but now women may use it for health benefits.

Shelby Kreaps, NW Campus student, said, “Ovarian cancer is hereditary in my family, and the pill is preventing not only an unwanted birth, but is also saving my life.”

British researchers say the pill can protect women against ovarian cancer for 30 years or longer after they stop taking them and have so far prevented 100,000 ovarian cancer deaths worldwide.

Kate Stephens, NE Campus student, said, “I recently thought about stopping taking the pill, and it’s reassuring to know that I’m still preventing myself from cancer if I decide to stop.” 

In an MSNBC news report, Valerie Beral of the University of Oxford and colleagues stated in their report that the estimated use of oral contraceptives has prevented about 200,000 cases of ovarian cancer and 100,000 deaths from the disease.

According to Yahoo news, researchers estimated 30,000 cancer cases could be avoided every year.

By analyzing 45 studies on ovarian cancer in 21 countries, Beral and her colleagues wrote that the benefits of the pill outweigh the risks.

A recent New York Times article found that women taking oral contraceptives for a decade were less likely to develop ovarian cancer. Without the pill, about 12 women in 1,000 are expected to have ovarian cancer before age 75. But the figure fell to 8 women in 1,000 among those on the pill.

The breast cancer risk—which also extends to stroke and blood clots—is much smaller and exists only while women are taking the pill and soon after they stop, Beral added.

Shanda Brite, NE student, said, “I have known the risks for the pill, but I know the side effects of not taking birth control, so that is why I take the pill.”

The researchers say they do not know exactly why the pill provides protection, but the benefits make sense because the drug suppresses the ovaries’ function when women are taking it, according to MSNBC article.

For women who do not have family history of this cancer, the results of the study could be reason enough for them to consider an oral contraceptive, the report said.

Planned Parenthood began a program that provides free reproductive health and family planning services to women in order to prevent unintended pregnancies and to promote women’s health.

For more information, students can visit http://www.plannedparenthood.org.

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