Tag Archives: ovarian cancer

Birth control pills may protect against some cancers for decades

When it comes to oral contraceptives, women often hear about the increased cancer risk they pose. A new study, however, finds that the using birth control pills may protect against certain cancers for at least 30 years.
From an analysis of more than 46,000 women, researchers from the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom found that women who had ever used oral contraceptive pills were at lower risk of colorectal, ovarian, and endometrial cancers, compared with women who had never used the pill.

Furthermore, the study found no link between the use of oral contraceptives during reproductive years and increased risk of new cancers in later life.

The study was led by Dr. Lisa Iversen, of the Institute of Applied Health Sciences at Aberdeen, and the findings were recently published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 16 percent of women in the United States aged between 15 and 44 years are currently using oral contraceptive pills as a method of birth control.

The “combined pill” is the most common form of oral contraceptive used. This contains synthetic versions of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Since naturally occurring estrogen and progesterone have been associated with cancer development, numerous studies have investigated whether oral contraceptives might play a role in cancer risk.

Read more at Medical News Today 

USPSTF: Jury Still Out on Pelvic Exams for Most Gynecologic Conditions

There is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against pelvic exams for most gynecologic conditions among asymptomatic women of reproductive age, said the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Other than cervical cancer, gonorrhea and chlamydia, which have been addressed in separate recommendation statements, the USPSTF cited “insufficient evidence” to assess the balance of benefits and harms of these screenings in asymptomatic, non-pregnant women 18 years of age and older, who are not at increased risk of any specific gynecologic condition.

Notably, the authors reported that they were only able to find “limited evidence” on the accuracy of these examinations to detect ovarian cancer, bacterial vaginosis, genital herpes, and trichomoniasis — with very few studies on screening for other gynecologic conditions with pelvic examination alone.

This final recommendation (I statement) was published on the USPSTF site and simultaneously in the Journal of the American Medical AssociationIt affirms a draft statement issued last June, with a clarification that the USPST is not recommending against screening, and that it did not consider costs in its review.

The Task Force found inadequate evidence of benefits or harms in routine screening, citing only a few studies that reported false-positive rates for ovarian cancer (ranging from 1.2% to 8.6%), and rates of surgery for patients with abnormal findings (ranging from 5% to 36%). No studies quantified the amount of anxiety associated with these examinations, they noted.

separate editorial in JAMA Internal Medicine singled out the high false-positive rates with ovarian cancer screening and suggested the associated harms may be “substantial.” George F. Sawaya, MD, of the University of California San Francisco, characterized pelvic exams as a “ritual,” citing a survey of U.S. ob/gyns where over 85% said they performed bi-manual examination even among patients who had undergone a total hysterectomy, including the removal of both tubes and ovaries.

Read more at MedPage Today

Inside Knowledge: Get the Facts About Gynecologic Cancer

The Inside Knowledge campaign raises awareness of the five main types of gynecologic cancer: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar. Inside Knowledge encourages women to pay attention to their bodies, so they can recognize any warning signs and seek medical care.

New television and radio public service announcements in English and Spanish feature actress Cote de Pablo, talking about her own cervical cancer scare, and sharing advice for other women. And check out the new posters telling Cote’s story, as well as our Behind-the-Scenes videos from filming!

Inside Knowledge also has new TV and radio PSAs that highlight gynecologic cancer symptoms. The PSAs encourage women to learn the symptoms, and pay attention to what their bodies are telling them.

Inside Knowledge has resources for women, and for health care providers and organizations to share with their patients and communities.

Read more and access the resources here at the CDC’s website