Taking the Pill ‘could help women live longer’

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  • Is the Pill saving lives? Women who use it cut their chances of dying of cancer and heart disease, according to a new study...

    The contraceptive Pill can extend your life and may even save 1,500 lives a year, according to a groundbreaking new study.
    Women who had used the contraceptive were less likely to die from a range of diseases, including heart disease and cancer, than those who have never taken it. Overall, the drugs cut the risk of death from bowel cancer by 38 per cent and from any cause by around 12 per cent.
    The findings will be reassuring for millions of women who are taking, or have taken the Pill, following a number of health scares. The results are from the Royal College of GPs Oral Contraception Study, one of the world’s largest investigations into the health effects of the Pill.

    Although there was small increased risk of death among women under 45 taking the Pill, in part because of the well-known increased chance of suffering a blood clot, that effect disappeared after around 10 years. And the health benefits to women as they got older more than offset the risks to under 45s, the researchers said.

    Introduced in 1961, and initially for married women only, around three million women in Britain are now thought to take the Pill regularly to prevent unwanted pregnancy. The contraceptives work by using synthetically produced hormones to suppress ovulation.

    Prof Phillip Hannaford, who led the study, said: ‘Oral contraception is not significantly associated with an increased long-term risk of death … indeed a net benefit was apparent.’

    Dr Alison Ross, from Cancer Research UK, said: ‘This large study should help to reassure women that on average, the long-term benefits of taking the Pill, including lower odds of dying from cancer, outweigh the risks.’


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