(November 20, 2015) A study published in BMC Cancer demonstrates that ovarian cancer patients who had a history of oral contraceptive use had better outcomes than those who had not previously used them. Dr. Aminah Jatoi and co-author Dr. Ellen Goode, both of the Mayo Clinic, examined 1,398 cases during a thirteen year period and found that those who had taken oral contraceptives in the past not only lived longer with the disease but also lived without the disease getting worse for a longer length of time as well.
However, contraceptive use did not affect the overall survival rate. One possible explanation as to why survival rate did not change was the age of the study participant. Older patients with ovarian cancer may have passed away due to reasons other than cancer.
It’s not clear why oral contraceptives have this effect on ovarian cancer but Dr. Jatoi says that “multiple studies from a variety of sources have indicated that oral contraceptives are associated with a reduced risk of ovarian cancer, one of the most deadly cancers in women.”