Birth Control Pills Save Women's Lives, Says Major New Study

woman taking pillThe verdict is in, ladies: The pill helps prevent cancer. Since women first started taking oral contraceptives, there's been a concern that the hormones in the daily dose would promote lady cancers. Now, researchers are about to publish a comprehensive, long-term study that unequivocally shows that the "use of oral contraceptives confers long-term protection against endometrial cancer."

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The researchers share the news in their paper which will run in the journal Lancet Oncology this week.

And their findings are no small thing. Endometrial cancer killed more than 76,000 women worldwide in 2012 and is the most common gynecological cancer in the U.S.

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Researchers say that in their study of more than 27,000 women with endometrial cancer, women who take oral contraceptives for just five years had a decreased long-term risk for endometrial cancer. 

Besides offering good news for ladies on the pill, and mothers worried oral contraceptives could put their daughters at risk, this study comes at a time in the U.S. when women's access to oral contraceptives is being threatened. Planned Parenthood, which narrowly avoided an effort in the Senate this week to strip the organization's federal funding, says more than a third of the services they provide are contraceptives.

Employers and pharmacists have fought for the right to deny a woman’s access to birth control based on religious beliefs. That's despite the fact that nearly 10 million women in the U.S. take oral contraceptives. 

These findings help underline that contraceptives are about more for women than sexy time. Affordable access to birth control not only prevents unwanted pregnancy; now, thanks to the work of these researchers, we know it can save a woman's life. Health care isn't about morality, it's about mortality. It's time to stop conflating the two.

 

Becky Bracken is a news and views writer who serves it up with a sassy side of girl power. If you don't have anything nice to say, you should probably sit next to her. Get more at NerdieGaga.com.


Image via OJO_Images/iStock

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