How Do Birth Control Pills Affect Ovarian Cancer Risk?

Read Transcript

Oral contraceptive birth control pills, substantially decrease the risk of ovarian cancer. We think every single year of use decreases the risk by 8-10%. We think around 5 years of use we start seeing a 50% decrease. We think the longer you use to the pill, the more we see a decrease and we think the closer to age 50 or the older you are the more protection we see.

Oral contraceptives are really interesting because we think they do two things. Partially they limit ovulation so that damage to the ovarian surface that then needs to be healed that happens when an egg comes out. More importantly we think that progesterone that's the main hormone in low dose oral contraceptives decreases the risk by sort of helping heal the surface by helping repair damaged cells and by again shutting down cells that are damaged.