Clearer skin, more regular periods, avoiding unwanted pregnancy…there are a lot of perks to taking the Pill. But recent research has found there’s another “pro” to add to the list: a lower risk of developing endometrial cancer—even after you go off of birth control.
For the study, published in the journal The Lancet, the authors examined data about more than 27,000 women with endometrial cancer and more than 115,000 women without endometrial cancer, all gathered from 36 different studies. They looked at a variety of factors, including the women’s height, weight, reproductive history, use of hormone therapy for menopause, alcohol and tobacco use, and family history of endometrial and breast cancers. They also looked at whether or not women had taken oral contraceptives and, if so, how long they took them. With this info, the researchers then calculated the relative risk of endometrial cancer based on contraception use, comparing the women who had endometrial cancer to those who hadn’t had the disease.
Turns out, the longer women used birth control pills, the lower their risk of developing endometrial cancer. The risk went down by about 25 percent for every five years a woman was on the Pill, and—here’s the amazing part—the reduced risk lasted for more than 30 years after women stopped taking the Pill.
Researchers also discovered that, in high-income countries like the U.S., taking the Pill for 10 years reduced the risk of developing endometrial cancer before the age of 75 from 2.3 to 1.3 cases per 100 users.