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Newer Birth Control Pills Also Protect Against Ovarian Cancer

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An obstetrician-gynecologist who spoke to WebMD about the study says the findings bear out what many women's health providers have believed for years about the low-dose pill.

"Especially if there is increased risk for ovarian cancer, I would think the results of a study such as this would potentially lead a woman to choose an oral contraceptive over some of the other forms of effective, reversible contraception," says Lee Shulman, MD.

But, Shulman says, the decision about what to do if you are at high risk for ovarian cancer is a highly personal one that women and their doctors must make together. Shulman is a professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and molecular genetics, and director of the division of reproductive genetics, at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Even the drastic step of having the ovaries removed is not a 100% guarantee against cancer, Shulman says. He says women must decide for themselves what is best, but says he would not discourage someone at high risk of the cancer from trying to reduce it by taking the pill instead of having her ovaries removed. Even for women not at high risk of ovarian cancer, taking the pill during the reproductive years may have benefits, he says.

For more information from WebMD, visit our Diseases and Conditions page on Women's Conditions.

 

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