Age When Giving Birth and Oral Contraceptives Influence One’s Risk of Ovarian Cancer

(August 9, 2017) The International Journal of Cancer recently published an article on preliminary findings for two factors that influence one’s risk of ovarian cancer, namely the age at which a woman gives birth and the age at which she starts using oral contraceptives. The authors, including Celeste Leigh Pearce, PhD of OCRFA’s Scientific Advisory Committee, studied data on almost 4,000 women, and found that women who had their first child after 35 had a 47% lower risk of developing ovarian cancer than women who had their first child before 25 years of age. Additionally, for every 5 years a woman waited to give birth for the first time, the risk was reduced by thirteen percent. They also found that women using oral contraceptives before the age of 35 had greater protection from ovarian cancer than those who started at a later age. Current and previous data support the fact that the effects seen from later births last for at least 30 years after the last time a woman gave birth. However, the effects seen from earlier use of oral contraceptives need further study as not all data comes to the same conclusion.

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