Help us to stop bowel cancer

New study shows oral contraceptive pill reduces risk of bowel cancer

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Today (Wednesday 22 March) the University of Aberdeen has published new research that has found the contraceptive pill protects women against bowel, ovarian and endometrial cancer for more than 35 years after they stop taking it.

Although there was a slight increase in risk for breast and cervical cancer, the study showed it was only a temporary rise and the danger vanished a few years after stopping contraception.

The Oral Contraception Study established by the Royal College of General Practitioners followed 46,000 women to monitor the long term impact of taking the contraceptive pill.

The study found that taking the pill for any length of time lowered the cases of bowel cancer by 19 per cent, endometrial cancer by 34 per cent and ovarian cancer by 33 per cent.

Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK said:

“This is an interesting study highlighting that taking the oral contraceptive pill can reduce your risk of bowel cancer. Although reassuring, it’s vital that women don’t rely on the pill alone to reduce their risk.

“We know that one in 19 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer in their lifetime, it’s the fourth most common cancer in the UK. We don’t know what causes most bowel cancers, but we do know that some factors increase your risk of getting the disease.

“Some of these are things you can’t do anything about, for example, age and genetics. But you can make changes to your lifestyle to help stack the odds against bowel cancer, such as being of a healthy weight, taking more exercise, cutting down on alcohol and stopping smoking.

“If you’re worried or thinking about taking the oral contraceptive pill, speak to your GP.”