TUESDAY, 15 DECEMBER 2015Recent studies had already indicated that oral contraceptives are associated with a reduced risk of ovarian cancer, one of the deadliest cancers for women. However, this study is the first to confirm a positive link between the pill and outcomes in patients who ultimately develop the disease.
For this study, researchers Aminah Jatoi, and Ellen L. Goode of the Mayo Clinic examined the outcomes of ovarian cancer patients who were seen at Mayo Clinic from 2000 through 2013.
The researchers performed two types of statistical analysis on data extracted from the patients’ health records, one of which found that patients who had been on the pill had improved progression-free survival and the length of time patients with the disease lived, compared to those who had not been on the pill. The second analysis had less consistent results for overall survival, but this might have been because of older patients who might have died from non-cancer causes.
Though it is still not clear how oral contraceptives improve outcomes for ovarian cancer patients, Dr. Jatoi suggested that contraceptives may reduce the risk of DNA mutations and thereby result in a less aggressive form of the disease at a later date.
This study is promising for the identification of new therapeutic targets for patients diagnosed with ovarian cancers and while further studies are needed in this area, this study might provide a sense of hope for patients who are struggling with this disease.
Written by Annabelle Monnot.