A new study says the birth control pill could protect against certain cancers.
The data was collected over a 40-year period and shows women who take the pill are less likely to develop certain types of cancers for several decades.
“This was such a well done, longitudinal, many years, tens of thousands of women-type of study, that’s what really lends the power to it,” said Dr. Robert Del Rosario, an OB/GYN at Partners in Women’s Healthcare.
The study conducted by the University of Aberdeen claims women on the pill are less likely to develop colorectal, endometrial, and ovarian cancer at least 30 years after they stop using the pill.
“The ongoing studies in terms of ovarian cancer have been quite strong, so for this large of a prospective study to correlate the others was really very powerful,” Del Rosario said.
The study followed 46,000 woman for up to 44 years. For those who may be skeptical, Del Rosario said don’t be.
“I think for that large of a group, you’re going to rule out that it’s just kind of a causality of chance,” he said. “When they look at that many woman for that long of period of time, you really have to say this is a serious association.”
The study also found the pill does not cause breast cancer later life. Del Rosario said there are no increased risks for any cancers and no negative impacts on fertility. The protective benefits of the pill are just that.
“It’s not going to be prescribed to prevent those things specifically,” he said.
As for how or why the pill protects against specific types of cancers, Del Rosario said there’s no rhyme or reason at this time.