New combined oral contraceptives would reduce the risk of ovarian cancer in young women. A study shows it.
The latest generation of pills with low doses of estrogen and progesterone would protect young women from ovarian cancer.
This is highlighted by a large study published this week in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Led by researchers from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, she is interested in the influence of new combined hormonal contraceptives on ovarian cancer in women of childbearing age .
Interest of combined progestins
And his results are encouraging. The researchers based their analyzes on national prescribing and cancer registries, which counted the data of nearly 1.9 million Danish women between the ages of 15 and 49 between 1995 and 2014.
Taking into account various factors including the age of women, the researchers found that the number of ovarian cancer cases was higher among women who had never used hormonal contraception (7.5 cancers per 100,000 person-years). In women who had used hormonal contraception, the number of ovarian cancers was significantly lower at 3.2 per 100,000 person-years.
This reduced risk for combination contraceptives has been observed by researchers for all types of ovarian cancer. They also point out that there is little evidence of significant differences between contraceptives containing different types of progestins. A decrease in the risk of ovarian cancer was also observed in women who were followed until their first contraceptive change.
Ovarian cancer risk reduced by 21%
Based on all these data, the authors of the study claim that hormonal contraception has prevented about 21% of ovarian cancers in this group of women.
However, the researchers say, this is an observational study. Therefore, they caution against too early conclusions about causes and effects. They also point out that the results relate to older contraceptives than those currently on the market. "Our findings suggest that contemporary combined hormonal contraceptives are still associated with a reduced risk of ovarian cancer in women of childbearing age, with trends similar to those seen with older oral combination products," she says. they however.
"The reduced risk seems to persist after the cessation of consumption, although the duration of benefits is uncertain. Currently, there is not enough evidence to suggest similar protection for exclusive users of products containing only progestins, "the researchers conclude.
A fall in ovarian cancer mortality
This is not the first time researchers have shed light on the protective role of contraceptives against ovarian cancer. In 2016, a study published in The Annals of Oncology had shown that oral contraceptives would have contributed significantly to the decline in ovarian cancer mortality. Other studies have shown that the risk of developing this type of cancer is reduced by 40 to 50% thanks to the contraceptive pill, especially if it is used five years or more.
According to the researchers, the number of deaths attributable to ovarian cancer fell worldwide between 2002 and 2012, thanks in particular to the contraceptive pill, which is widely prescribed for women around the world. According to the latest figures, more than 100 million women use hormonal contraception every day.