Vol 78, No 8 (2007)

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Combined oral contraception and the risk of reproductive organs cancer in women

Medard M. Lech, Lucyna Ostrowska
Ginekol Pol 2007;78(8).


COCs (combined oral contraceptives) remain the most widely used effective and reversible means of family planning. Their beneficial effects are well documented, but many questions are still raised concerning a possible association between the use of COCs and the development of cancer. The authors provide a broad and up-to-date review of the literature regarding the relation between COC use and carcinogenesis in reproductive organs. Studies have not unequivocally confirmed that such a relation exists with regard to breast cancer. Much research has been focused on the COCs usage and its positive connection with the incidence of cervical cancer; most of it was done by J. Smith. This author confirmed the existence of a weak relation between COCs and the development of cervical carcinoma, especially in women using COCs for longer periods. Ovarian carcinoma has the worst prognosis of all cancers of reproductive organs in women. Nonetheless, the risk of developing ovarian cancer in women using COCs is at least 40% smaller than in other women; the degree of protection given by COCs being proportional to the duration of use of this form of contraception. Scientific data proved convincingly that the risk of endometrial cancer is smaller in COCs users than in women who never took COCs.

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