||New medical research claims that the contraceptive pill saves the lives of up to 3,000 women a year in the UK and Europe.
A number of studies now suggest that the Pill reduces the risk of ovarian cancer significantly. One study, reported in the British Journal of Cancer this week, found a protective effect of up to 50 per cent for Pill users, while another, reported in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, found a similar effect after analysing data on the use of the Pill since its introduction.
According to the studies, women who use the contraceptive pill reduce their risk of developing ovarian cancer by more than a third, and the longer they take it for, the greater the protection.
Carlo La Vecchia of the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche in Milan, one of the world's leading experts on cancer, says that ovarian cancer cases have dropped in recent years: "Ovarian cancer incidence and mortality for younger generations have been declining in most developed countries, and the decline has been greatest in countries where oral contraceptive use had spread earlier”.
"The favourable effect against ovarian cancer risk persists for years after Pill use has ceased, and it is not confined to any particular type of Pill,'' says Dr La Vecchia. "Since the incidence of ovarian cancer is already appreciable in middle age, and survival from the disease is unsatisfactory, the protection of Pill use corresponds to the avoidance of 3,000 to 5,000 ovarian cancer cases, and consequently 2,000 to 3,000 deaths a year in Europe." He added that similar numbers were benefiting from taking the Pill in the US.
Another report based on a separate study, by researchers at the University of Wales, say the Pill's effects against the cancer are substantial: "The oral contraceptive pill has a substantial and long-lasting effect on the prevention of ovarian and endometrial cancer and is one of the best examples of large-scale chemoprevention in the developed world”.