Oral Contraceptives May Be the Main Reason for Ovarian Cancer Drop

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Rates down 16 percent in U.S., 8% in Canada, and 10% in Europe over a decade
Rates down 16 percent in U.S., 8% in Canada, and 10% in Europe over a decade

HealthDay News — Ovarian cancer mortality is down dramatically in many parts of the world, and the use of oral contraceptives (OCs) may be a main reason why, according to a study published online September 5 in the Annals of Oncology.

The analysis of World Health Organization data found that the ovarian cancer mortality rate declined 16% in the United States and almost 8% in Canada between 2002 and 2012.

In the European Union, the ovarian cancer mortality rate declined 10%, though some countries saw far more significant decreases. The United Kingdom's ovarian cancer mortality rate declined by 22%. Denmark and Sweden each saw a reduction of 24% in their mortality rate from ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer deaths also decreased about 12% in both Australia and New Zealand. In Latin America, the results were mixed. Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay had decreases in ovarian cancer mortality rates between 2002 and 2012. Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, and Venezuela all had increases.

"The main reason for the favorable trends is the use of OCs, particularly, in the United States and countries of the European Union where OCs were introduced earlier," the authors write. "Declines in menopausal hormone use may also have played a favorable role in elderly women, as well as improved diagnosis, management, and treatment."

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